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2006 National Disabled Members' Conference
7 July 2006

Assistance Dogs not only make available a specific service to their handlers, but also develop their lives to the highest degree with a new sense of freedom and liberty.

The goals regarding individuals with disabilities are to guarantee equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and financially viable independence.

The use of Assistance dogs helps facilitate the accomplishment of these goals and should be permitted and encouraged by the country as a whole.

Under right of access to buildings throughout the country for guide dogs, this amendment is needed to ensure that it is not impossible or difficult for reasonable steps to improve policies procedures and practices, which makes it unreasonably difficult for disabled people to access buildings and services with the assistance of dogs.

The definition of an assistance dog is the same as in section 37 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Conference calls for

the right of entry for all assistance dogs and support for disabled people to be able to travel freely and to know that they can take their dogs with them without restrictions. This will make a valuable contribution toward helping people with assistance dogs in their daily lives. Surely “to have a legal right of access to public places”, is the view of all disabled people with assistance dogs.

Conference further calls for amendment to the legislation so that disabled people can use places of public accommodation and services, and other public places with an assistance dog specially trained for that person without being required to pay extra charges or denied the right of entry for the assistance dog.

“Places of Public Accommodation” means:

1)any such facility located on the premises of any retail establishment

2)Sales or rental establishments

3)Hospital or other service establishments

4)Places of education

5)Places of exercise or recreation

6)Any other establishment or place to which the public is invited

7)Establish and promote standards of excellence in all areas of Assistance Dog attainment, guidance and companionship

8)Facilitate communication and learning among members and organizations

9)To educate the public to the benefits of Assistance Dogs

The refusal of access rights for the assistance dogs should be viewed as disability discrimination.

The Conference instructs National Disabled Members Committee to lobby for implementation for “reasonable adjustments” to make it possible for disabled people to access goods, facilities and services accompanied by their assistance dog.