Public urged to keep guide dog owners in mind at Hallowe'en

Awareness

Kildare Now Reporter

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Public urged to keep guide dog owners in mind at Hallowe'en

A guide dog owner in County Kildare

Kildare County Access Network are encouraging members of the public to be mindful of the needs of guide dog owners during the current pandemic especially with Halloween approaching. Members of the Kildare County Network who advocate for people with disabilities include access groups from Naas, Newbridge, Celbridge, Athy, disability organisations and local councillors.

The key things that the Irish Guide Dog users are struggling with is that Guide Dogs are unable to recognise one way systems in shops. People with vision impairment can’t find an empty seat on public transport/café’s as they can’t see the signs saying please don’t sit here. Guide Dogs are unable to understand social distance from people or see hand sanitisers in shops upon entry. The Irish Guide Dog association recommend that verbal communication is key. If you see a guide dog owner or person with vision impairment please don’t be afraid to approach them whilst keeping your distance. State your name and ask if you can help.

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Additional furniture and signs on pathways outside shops and cafés are also causing problems for people with visual impairments and wheelchair users so businesses are encouraged to ensure there is a clear pathway and no obstacles for cane users.

As Halloween approaches the likelihood is that there may be problems caused by illegal fireworks and bangers. Halloween can be a fun time but a very scary time for pets, guide dogs, therapy dogs and people with autism. KCAN encourages parents to be vigilant and to discourage the use of bangers and fireworks. Members of the various access groups across the county will also be sharing a cartoon on social media which can be coloured in to help educate young children on the problems caused by fireworks.