Dr Paul Jarman, 45, claims he cannot allow his guide dog Gemma off her lead due to stringent dog control orders insisted upon by his local authority, Newark and Sherwood District Council.And, as he has a disability, this is a personal affront to him and all other people with disabilities, and don’t you forget it!
He says the way the legislation is implemented is discriminatory, with no exemptions or concessions for the fact the Labrador is a registered guide dog and needs to be exercised.ALL dogs ‘need to be exercised’, just just guide dogs. Apart from their training, there’s nothing special about them…
He said it was “without question, the most anti-disabled piece of legislation to have made it onto the statute books for many years, and it is no exaggeration to suggest that, if other local authorities were to follow NSDC's example, all possibility of independent and responsible guide dog ownership in the UK would be at an end”.Really? Are you sure you haven’t gone a little too far with the hyperbole there?
Oh, OK then:
Dr Jarman, a disability support officer at Queen Mary, University of London, added he feared it may force blind people out of the area, saying: “Most of my walks are accompanied by the close attentions of NSDC's dog wardens, who evidently have nothing better to do than harass and threaten guide dog owners - a sad state of affairs.”*sigh*
This is because his borough has chosen not to exempt guide dogs. Others have, and there’s nothing whatsoever to indicate that maybe they might not reconsider if enough people complain, but then, if you are a ‘disability campaigner’, it seems your job is to whip up fear and anxiety in the people you are campaigning for…
Other local authorities, including Manchester City Council and Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, have explicitly made blind people with guide dogs and disabled people with trained assistance dogs exempt from the control orders.So, rather than predict Armageddon for guide dogs everywhere, why not simply and calmly request that your borough takes note of others’ policies and looks again at its own?
Or are you just one of the professional Awkward Brigade?
A spokesman for Newark and Sherwood District Council said Dr Jarman chose to walk his dog in an area where they must be kept on leads as a result of a spate of attacks, and that there were alternative open, grassed areas nearby.
Jeremy Hutchinson, Environmental Health assistant manager, said officers would advise any blind member of the public of the law if it was clear they could not read warning signs.
“However, if they were to persist in doing so, despite knowing the order was in force, we would be likely to treat them as any other offender and issue a fixed-penalty notice,” he said.Fancy that! Being treated just like anyone else!
Remember when that was what the disabled claimed to want..?