Blind Paralympian, guide dog refused entry – in case you don’t know the law, people, read this article

Posted: February 17, 2012 in Political musings, Popular Culture et al
Tags: , , , , ,

Sue-Ellen Lovett

A legally blind Paralympian has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission after being asked to leave two restaurants and a hotel because of her guide dog.

Equestrian Sue-Ellen Lovett of Dubbo (seen above) suffers from the hereditary eye disease retinitis pigmentosa, which has left her unable to see in one eye and with limited vision in the other.

She is classified as legally blind and has had a guide dog for 32 years.

Ms Lovett said she was asked to leave the three premises in the space of six hours, when she was in Picton to buy a new horse with her dog Prada early in February.

“We were asked to leave them all because of my guide dog,” she told AAP. “We were just asked to take the dog out and it was policy that no dogs were allowed.”

She left after “a long and tedious argument”.

Ms Lovett said she contacted the Human Rights Commission the following day and filed a complaint. She said she relied totally on Prada, describing him as “my independence and my mobility”.

Federal Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes told AAP he couldn’t comment on specific cases but said it was unlawful to refuse a person entry to premises because of a guide dog.

“Refusing access to a person because they are travelling with a guide dog is a breach of the Anti-Discrimination Act,” he said.

Ms Lovett competed in the 1996 Paralympian Atlanta Games, the 1999 Paralympian World Equestrian Games in Denmark and the 2000 Paralympian Sydney Games.

Well, I grew up in the UK, where it was virtually de-rigeur to take Fido with you to the pub, if for no other reason that then someone would kow the way home at 11pm after six pints or so. I have honestly also never understood why dogs pose a health threat in restaurants – we eat with them at home, no? – but fair enough, if people don’t want them around then the majority’s wishes must be respected, and I am sure I am in a minority. But a guide dog?

I hope like hell, if these businesses did break the law, that they either offer the lady concerned free meals and drinks for a year – with her dog – or get the arses prosecuted off them. Or both.

(With thanks to AAP, Yahoo and others)

  1. Can’t stop ignorance, can you?


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