Despite the “disability law” of February 11, 2005, many disabled patients and their guide or assistance dogs are still refused access to public spaces to which they are entitled. Where are these animals allowed?
- The “disability law” of February 11, 2005 requires the authorization and free access of guide or assistance dogs and their masters to all public places.
- However, in 2022, 167 people were refused the access to which they were entitled, according to a report from the observatory on the accessibility of guide and assistance dogs (OBAC).
- According to the data, 64 refusals come from tourism and leisure, 41 from the transport sector, and 34 from medical, administrative or educational authorities.
Known to the general public, the guide dog accompanies visually impaired or blind people during their travels. However, these animals do not only help patients with motor disabilities. They can also fulfill a multitude of missions with adults or children with a mental, psychological or even hearing disability, by facilitating the opening of a drawer, waking them up in the morning, rolling their master on the floor to avoid choking or by stimulating the awakening of toddlers affected by autism, for example. Clearly, assistance dogs play an essential role in the lives of people with disabilities.
This is why since 1987, regulations have required the authorization and free access of guide or assistance dogs and their masters to all public places, including air transport. It was reinforced within the framework of the “handicap law” of February 11, 2005. As a reminder, prohibiting access to places open to the public for guide and assistance dogs is punishable by a fine. €450 for a natural person and €2,250 for a legal entity. However, this law is still not fully respected. In recent years, several cases of refusals, particularly in shops, hotels, taxis, places of relaxation and leisure or even amusement parks, have been recorded.
Guide or assistance dog: 167 people were refused access to public spaces
Faced with the frequency of refusals and denials, representative associations with the support of the State Secretariat for Disabled People and the Ministerial Delegation for Accessibility have created the observatory for the accessibility of guide and assistance dogs (OBAC) in order to contribute to the fight against these acts of discrimination often experienced by those concerned as yet another humiliation. As part of its 2022 report, presented during the plenary meeting of its members, the OBAC reveals that 167 people (120 beneficiaries, 46 host families, a dog trainer) were refused the access to which they were entitled in 2022.
In detail, these refusals affected 109 women for 47 men and 11 couples. Among them, 64 refusals come from tourism and leisure, 41 from the transport sector, and 34 from medical, administrative or educational authorities. “wrongly considering themselves exempt from the legislation.” Faced with these worrying results, the observatory has made detachable sheets available listing good practices in places open to the public for welcoming guide or assistance dog teams.
Disability: these animals are allowed in all places open to the public
According to the governmentguide or assistance dogs, which accompany people with the mobility inclusion card with the words “disability and priority”, are admitted to all places open to the public. “It is the same when the dogs are accompanied by the person responsible for their education throughout their training period.” Patients can also take them on transport, in stores, and in professional activity premises, training places and educational establishments. “A disabled person who requests to benefit from a service or benefit must not be overcharged due to the presence of their guide or assistance dog. For example, the presence of a guide dog does not entail additional costs for the disabled person who takes the train.”