Beach restrictions not fair for assistance dogs

dog on beachI WOULD like to complain about the comments made by the person writing on your letters page (LymeOnline, February 4), in particular the reference to keeping the beach for kids only.

Had the writer considered kids with assistant dogs who are allowed in restricted areas off-lead at anytime of the year? By misleading the public they are indirectly discriminating against people who have hidden disabilities.

Many children with autism or other protected disabilities are finding it increasingly difficult to visit Lyme Regis as it’s been made clear it has become a town where many people are claiming dogs are not welcome.

I feel this needs to be addressed by LymeOnline to offer a balanced view of the difficulty those who have a disabled child, family member or friend face.

In the Public Space Protect Order 2020 you will find reference to assistance dogs, being auxiliary aids. If you also check the Mental Health Act, Disability Act and Equality Act you will find these all give guidance to all decisions makers who create restriction, or fail to include information and display clearly for the public to prevent discrimination.

PTSD is increasingly leading to people having support dogs; they live within a family supporting the person who suffers with this disability, and have children who may wish to visit the beach.

Wheelchair accessible beaches are one thing we are still waiting for Dorset Council to provide under access for all.

Service dogs for those with hearing disabilities and those with vision disabilities are all allowed to access restricted areas at any time.

We hope you will publish this response; I have a family member who has a hidden disability and an assistant dog trained by the family, they do not need to prove this is their assistance dog and the dog doesn’t wear a lead or harness.

At the moment they feel they cannot visit Lyme Regis due to hostile news items being shared. This impedes on their mental health increasing isolation.

The off-lead areas have been referred to the disability group who support human rights for all, they are not fit for purpose and do not provide an alternative as issued in guidance to authorities in the UK.

Name and address supplied

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1 Comment

  1. First and foremost, I’d like to say that whoever the ‘person’ was that wrote to call for a (‘dog free beach’), I assume that they didn’t take into consideration that some people ‘need’ dogs for ‘assistance’, even on a beach?
    If that was proven to be the case, I’d hope that an apology would be issued
    to the people that were offended by the initial remarks.
    That, in my view, would be appropriate and would also, hopefully, help to restore faith in humanity, which is evidently and sadly ebbing away.

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