It is a crime to refuse entry to someone because they are accompanied by an assistance animal. Find out more by reading this article.

Assistance Animals out of the Dog House

Guide Dog wearing a fluorescent orange coat

It is a crime to refuse entry to someone because they are accompanied by an assistance animal. Assistance animals, like Guide or Seeing Eye dogs, are not pets. They are highly trained professionals whose occupation is to enable people with disability to move freely and with independence. It is important not to pet or interact with assistance animals while they are on duty or in harness. 

Guide dog and discrimination levels

Don’t forget that some disabilities are ‘invisible’ in that you cannot rely on identifying someone as having a disability by making judgments based solely on visual cues (nor should you). Do not presume or assume! Always ask and be kind and understanding when speaking to someone with an assistance animal. People with a disability have a right to move freely and independently within society with the aid of their assistance animal, even in places animals are normally not allowed.

It is courteous to offer access to drinking water for assistance animals, especially in a context where the animal and user are sitting or dwelling for long periods. This is a simple and kind gesture which can make the assistance animal and its user feel welcome and accepted. As the animal is assisting its user throughout the day, its opportunities for a drink may be few and far between.

Download: 1Guide Dogs NSW/ACT: Guide Dog Discrimination Fact Sheet