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Why it can be a dog's life for hard of hearing.

Byline: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2015 ECHO 31 facebook.com/theliverpoolecho TOM DOWLING in association with alltogethernow.org ...FOR PEOPLE WHO WON'T LET DISABILITY GET IN THE WAY

THE majority of deaf people who use hearing dogs to get out and about have been illegally refused access to shops and restaurants.

And one-in-six have been shunned by taxi drivers.

National charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is now campaigning to educate businesses about their obligations under the Equality Act 2010, to allow disabled people with hearing dogs into their premises.

The charity says that people with hearing dogs have been wrongly turned away from stores for 'hygiene reasons' or a concern that the dog may cause a disruption.

But the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health states that risk of an assistance dog posing a hygiene risk or behaving badly in any public space is very minimal.

Michele Jennings, chief executive of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, said: "Hundreds of deaf people in the UK rely on their hearing dog to help them every day, and it's upsetting and degrading when they are turned away from a business.

"Not only do hearing dogs carry out a wide range of practical tasks, but they also provide a deaf person with the support and confidence needed to live an independent life.

"The Equality Act 2010 states that service providers must not treat people with disabilities less favourably if they have an assistance dog, so we want to ensure that all businesses are aware of this."

Hearing dogs complete a rigorous 18-month training programme, in which they are trained to toilet on command, lie quietly on the floor in a restaurant or cafe, and taught not to wander freely around the premises.

Catherine Broughton, 74, and her hearing dog, Benji, have been denied access to a business several times.

She said: "Being denied access with Benji brings a mixture of emotions - from shock, disbelief and panic, through to humiliation and helplessness."

CAPTION(S):

Catherine Broughton, and her hearing dog, Benjiw

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Title Annotation:News; Opinion; Columns
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 24, 2015
Words:335
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