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News > Press Releases 2016 > Recommendation to adopt a law concerning persons with disabilities accompanied by a specially trained guide dog

Recommendation to adopt a law concerning persons with disabilities accompanied by a specially trained guide dog

26. 09. 2016

Over the last few years, the Public Defender of Rights received many complaints by persons who were, for instance, not allowed to enter certain buildings or public transport vehicles with their assistance dogs. Some complainants faced the same obstacles in receiving spa treatment or in their places of employment.

Specially trained guide dogs help remove, mitigate or overcome the effects of disability. Their purpose is to compensate for a certain handicap. Such dogs are indispensable parts of the lives of people with disabilities. They allow them to exercise their right to free movement and independence.

Currently, the law does not regulate the rights of persons accompanied by specially trained guide dogs. While these rights may be inferred from the Anti-Discrimination Act, their enforcement in practice is far from effective. In the Czech Republic, there are no legal rules defining the rights of people accompanied by guide dogs.

The Public Defender of Rights has been engaged in the subject of specially trained guide dogs for a long time, specifically since 2009. In 2010, this engagement resulted in issuing the Recommendation of the Public Defender of Rights on the access of guide dogs to public areas. The current proposal, therefore, presents a logical next step in this direction. For this reason, the Defender recommended that the Government adopt a law that would regulate the rights of persons with disabilities who use specially trained guide dogs, encompassing the following areas:

  1. Definition of public areas that are freely accessible by persons accompanied by specially trained guide dogs. These include, for example, office buildings, courts, cultural establishments or public transport vehicles. “Freely accessible” means that the accompaniment by a guide dog is not subject to any fees or any additional rules such as compulsory muzzling. Similarly, this law should ensure unrestricted access to education, work and housing. In this context, a guide dog is an inseparable part of the accompanied person. The same regulation should also apply to guide dog trainers.
  2. Specification of the guide dog training. The Czech legislation does not regulate neither the status, nor the conditions of the training of dogs intended to accompany persons with disabilities. There is no independent national inspection body in the Czech Republic that would assess the training provided or the trainers’ professional qualifications. There is no accreditation centre that would guarantee the trained dogs’ quality.

The Government Committee for Persons with Disabilities discussed the recommendation for the Government and also recommended that the Government adopt a resolution for the relevant law to be drawn up and submitted for approval.

The Government accepted the recommendation.

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