Taking the lead with accommodation access

June 23, 2017

Research by our sister school Guide Dogs NSW/ACT reveals that a third (33%) of Guide Dog handlers had their access rights challenged when visiting hotels, motels, caravans and other accommodation. Some Guide Dog handlers also reported being refused entry completely or asked to pay an additional bond because they were accompanied by a Guide Dog.

A series of videos has been produced to help people Take the Lead and to increase education around Guide Dogs access rights within the accommodation industry.

Guide Dogs South Australia was pleased to respond to an invitation by the Grosvenor Hotel in Adelaide for a Guide Dog handler to speak at a staff meeting. The hotel will use the videos for staff induction training. Thanks Grosvenor Hotel for being proactive and taking the lead!

Video: How does a Guide Dog know where to go?

Video: Where does a Guide Dog sleep in a hotel?

Video: How do you know when your Guide Dog needs a toilet break?

Video: What happens if I disturb a Guide Dog when it’s working?

Research Findings

In NSW, 33% of Guide Dog handlers have had access rights challenged by accommodation providers in the past three to five years, with 67% of these situations occurring at motels and 39% occurring at hotels
60% of Guide Dog handlers indicated access issues in restaurants and cafes; 52% in taxis; 32% in shopping centres

Access rights

A Guide Dog is not a pet. Guide Dogs are highly trained to guide a person with sight loss to move around and travel safely and independently.
A Guide Dog handler and his/her Guide Dog are legally allowed to enter all public places except zoos and operating theatres. Guide Dogs are welcome in public places such as restaurants, cafes, hotels and other accommodation facilities, medical/dental practices, and shops. They can also travel on all forms of public transport including taxis and planes.
It is illegal to discriminate against Guide Dog handlers, under the following laws:

  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Section 9)
  • Cat and Dog Managment Act 1995 (Part 81)
  • Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (Chapter 3, section 24(1) b)

A Guide Dog undergoes rigorous training where it is taught about how to behave in public areas.
All Guide Dog handlers carry a Guide Dog card and the dog wears a gold medallion licence.