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The Government of Asturias takes steps to redress unfairness to accessibility

Legislative changes that will permit the entry of service dogs to areas usually restricted to animals

  • October 16, 2020 16:00
  • Author Tzvetozar Vincent Iolov
Medium service dog

A bill allowing the unrestricted entry of service dogs to areas that are normally off access to pets is currently under consideration in the regional parliament (Junta General) of Asturias. The reasoning behind is that it unfairly discriminates against people with disabilities who usually rely on the service dogs for their mobility needs.

There are various categories of assistance dogs

The text of the draft law which is discussed by legislators in the northern Spanish autonomous region seeks to define what a bonding unit exactly is. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a bonding unit is to be understood as the functional unit formed between a person and his or her assistance dog.

Semantics aside, the passing of the bill is important because it will guarantee better accessibility for disabled people, who might have been the subject of mandated discrimination when their animals would not be permitted to enter certain places.

This includes a surprisingly wide range of locations, such as transport vehicles, recreational areas (including parks, gardens and beaches), as well as judicial, administrative and political institutions. On the list are also food and catering establishments, sports facilities, public swimming pools, health, welfare and social services centres, nursing homes and spaces dedicated to religious worship.

“We want to promote accessibility and mobility for people with disabilities, as well as facilitate the possibility of living independently and fully participating in society under equal conditions because all people have the same rights,” said Melania Álvarez, Asturian Minister of Social Rights and Welfare.

The law also defines the obligation of trainers and owners to provide service dogs with the necessary care. Additionally, it also standardizes the different categories of assistance dogs – a list that may be expanded in the future.

Apart from the guide dogs which accompany the visually impaired, there are dogs who help people with hearing disabilities, people with reduced mobility, epileptics and people on the autistic spectrum.

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