As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle and Barnsley Gazette on 9th January, Stephanie attended an event in Parliament run by the charity Guide Dogs to raise awareness of discrimination against guide dog owners.
The local MP heard from guide dog owners about the impact of being turned away by businesses because of their dog, and gave her backing to the Guide Dogs’ Access All Areas campaign that seeks to ensure nobody is refused entry.
It is against the law to refuse access to a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog except in the most exceptional circumstances. However, a Guide Dogs survey found that three quarters of assistance dog owners reported that they had been refused entry by businesses.
Businesses that closed their doors to assistance dog owners included shops, supermarkets, gyms, campsites, places of worship, public transport, taxis and minicabs, pubs and hotels.
Commenting, Stephanie said:
“I was shocked to hear about cases of guide dog owners being turned away by businesses.
“This isn’t just poor customer service; it’s discrimination and it’s unacceptable; disabled people have the same rights as anyone else to shop, take a taxi or visit their local pub.
“I support Guide Dogs’ Access All Areas campaign to open all doors to guide dog owners this festive season.”