Armidale Regional Council’s Access Advisory Committee and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT are keen to provide the community with some important guidelines regarding the responsibilities of dog ownership - and how to behave when you and your pet come into contact with a Guide Dog.
“For many in the community, the opportunity to spend time in public outdoor spaces with their dog is a great pleasure,” said Janine Carson, Council’s Team Leader, Ranger Services. “For some, it is also an essential part of life. Their companion animal is their Guide Dog.”
Dog owners in the community must all adhere to certain responsibilities in regard to their dogs. These include registering and microchipping dogs; managing dogs so that they are not inclined to stray; cleaning up after their dog when out in public spaces; keeping their dog on a leash unless it is on their own property or in one of the designated off leash dog areas.
Dog owners should also be aware that there are certain ways to behave when they come into contact with a Guide Dog:
- Pet dogs should be kept on a leash and under control when out and about.
- Council should be alerted to loose or straying dogs.
- When a working Guide Dog is encountered, it is important to give it and its handler space.
- It is essential that community members do not pat, feed or otherwise distract a working Guide Dog. A well-intentioned pat can undo months of training.
- When approaching a Guide Dog team with a pet dog, it is important to clearly introduce yourself to the person and say you have a dog with you.
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Regional Manager, Jeremy Hill said that Guide Dogs play a vital role in enabling people who are blind or vision impaired to get around safely and independently.
“Any distraction to a working Guide Dog, including distraction from the public or their pet dogs, can compromise this independence. In rare serious cases, ongoing distraction can result in the premature retirement of a Guide Dog, which costs more than $35,000 to train,” he said. “We’re encouraging dog owners in Armidale to take the lead to help create a safe community, not just for Guide Dogs and their handlers, but for everyone.”
For more information about your responsibilities regarding animals and pets go to our animals and pets page.
Published on 10 Mar 2017