Today was a tough day for Paul, and was proof that there are still people and organisations who deal with the public every day that don’t know the law relating to Assistance Dogs (Service Dogs).
Paul finally tried to go into a cafe by himself for the first time with Luna. Unfortunately due to a lack of training for their staff, Paul was refused entry with Luna. This is a breach of the Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Paul tried to explain to the staff that it was his legal right to enter the cafe with Luna, but they still refused entry.
Luna was wearing her yellow mindDog Assistance Dog vest, an embroidered Service Dog collar and she was on an embroidered service dog lead (wearing the same gear as pictured in this article).
Unfortunately Paul couldn’t handle the situation any more, so he had to leave the cafe. He is now feeling sick from anxiety.
This situation showed how important Driving Oz with the Black Dog is, and that we have a lot of work ahead of us! Every organisation that deals with the public needs to train their staff in the law relating to Assistance/Service Dogs.
Where are MHADs allowed to go?
Assistance Dogs, also known as Service Dogs are allowed access to spaces open to the public, including but not limited to: restaurants, cafes, hospitals, airplanes, doctor’s offices, cabs, zoos, stores, etc.
Where may MHADs be lawfully excluded?
MHADs may be lawfully excluded from private spaces including but not limited to private homes, private clubs, etc. They may also be excluded from spaces where their presence constitutes a safety risk, (e.g., operating rooms, radioactive laboratories, heavy construction sites, commercial kitchen).
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Please encourage any media outlets within your area to join us on our journey to raise awareness of Assistance Dogs and Lifeline by tagging them on Facebook and other social media sites. Hopefully some of them will get involved so that we can try to educate the general public about Assistance Dogs and Mental Health in general. To date, only one radio station and no TV networks have contacted us. We want to get the word out before it happens to someone else. Paul has been on 24/7 watch since this event occurred as it has really upset him. Businesses don’t realise that refusing a legitimate Assistance Dog, in this case a Mental Health Assistance Dog, can have such an impact on a handler that they may consider self harm.