The 40 Guide Dogs that live and work in China dogs will soon be allowed in public places in China when a new regulation passed by the State Council takes effect on Aug 1. The regulation aims to provide more convenient facilities and services for people with disabilities. The hope Guide Dog owners is that the new regulations will contain detailed rules regarding guide dog access. Similar requirements allowing guide dogs in public places had been written into earlier government regulations but were poorly enforced and therefore access to certain services like busses and in grocery stores has been limited for those using their Guide Dogs.
Most of the 40 Guide Dogs currently working in China are from the China Guide Dog Training Center in Dalian, Liaoning province. Since 2006 the center has given 29 dogs to people with visual impairment. There are 70 dogs currently training to be guides at a cost of up to 150,000 yuan ($23,600) each. The center runs mainly on donations and therefore is very limited in the amount of people they can help.
Initial public reaction to guide dogs was quite negative around China. Some bus drivers avoided the dogs by stopping farther away or just driving past, and some supermarkets refused to let the dogs enter. But as public awareness improves through the Guide Dogs and their owners becoming ambassadors and working with local officials the public response to the dogs has become more favorable and accepting.
Felissa Elfenbein is the author and creator of Two Little Cavaliers. She loves to travel and so do her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Davinia and Indiana. We have lived in NYC, Florida, Georgia, Berlin, Germany, & Hong Kong.
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