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July 2011



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Guiding Eyes

For guide dogs like Chen Yan’s Jenny, many public places are still inaccessible due to the absence of a proper regulation. Zhang Wei / China Daily


Updated: 2011-07-16 14:09

By Zhang Yuchen (China Daily)


Lack of rules creates working hurdles for assistance dogs


Under other circumstances, Jenny would be treated as one of China’s “talents”. One of only 34 specialists in her field, she would be widely respected and given carte blanche in her work. But Jenny is a dog, a guide dog for a blind Beijing woman. And too many people and businesses won’t let her do her job.


“I have never succeeded in taking Jenny into the subway station near my house,” Chen Yan says. “I was refused six times, with the reason that they don’t know how to deal with a guide dog appearing in the subway.” She has encountered similar problems in restaurants and with cab drivers and airlines. It’s not animosity but ignorance that bars the way.


A railway station director in Beijing who asked not to be named says there is no direct boarding access for a blind person and guide dog. “We know it is not forbidden, but we just don’t know how to do this, what rules we should abide by.”


According to Beijing’s blind people protection regulation, a blind person alone can ride the subway for free.


New in China


Guide dogs assist visually impaired and blind people by avoiding obstacles, stopping at curbs and steps, and negotiating traffic. Assistance dogs also can be trained to help the deaf and hard of hearing or people with such disabilities as autism or seizure disorders. All are considered working animals.


In most countries where guide dogs have been introduced, people who use assistance dogs are guaranteed access to all places and modes of transportation available to the general public.


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