Assistance dogs are widely welcome by service providers such as restaurants, shops, hotels and other public buildings as well as on public transport including in taxis.
Disabled people are protected in UK law by the Equality Act (EA). The EA requires service providers to make reasonable adjustments to policies and one such adjustment could be to waive “no dogs” policies in respect of assistance dogs, or amend a “no pets” policy so that assistance dogs are not refused access.
Because assistance dog owners rely on their dogs to get around safely, refusing to allow an assistance dog on to the premises means refusing to provide a service to the owner for a reason relating to their disability.
- United Kingdom
- Northern Ireland
- Information: The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
- Contact: Requested volunteer with knowledge of accessibility in United Kingdom
- Updated: 20 April 2010
Guidance for Guide and Assistance Dog Owners Visiting the UK
This information has been written to support people accompanied by a guide or assistance dog visiting the UK. Visitors to other countries in Europe may find similar legislation and regulation in place which supports the rights of guide and assistance dog owners. Please do check with relevant organisations in the European country you are visiting for more detailed guidance information.
The European Pets Passport Scheme
All guide and assistance dog owners visiting the UK will need to ensure that their dog complies with the European Pets Passport Scheme (PETS), and the specific requirements for entry into the UK, which are different from the rest of Europe.
Recognised Assistance Dogs
Regulation in Europe and the UK makes reference to “Recognised Assistance Dogs”. These are guide and assistance dogs trained by member organisations of Assistance Dogs International (ADI) or the International Guide Dogs Federation (IGDF).
Guide and Assistance dogs not trained by members of ADI or IGDF will still be able to enter the UK, but owners may be charged additional fees if they bring their dogs into the UK via routes or modes of transport prohibited to dogs which are not trained by members of those organisations.
Assistance Dogs UK (ADUK)
AD(UK) is an umbrella body for organisations in the UK that meet the required standards and have been accredited by Assistance Dogs International (ADI) or the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF).
The Equality Act 2010 and Disability Discrimination Act 1995
The Equality Act 2010 in England, Scotland and Wales, and Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in Northern Ireland are the main pieces of legislation protecting the rights of people with a disability, severe or long term medical condition or impairment with regard to accessing goods, facilities and services.
UK assistance dog organisations have limited resources to support non-resident guide and assistance dog owners with their rights, so if visitors have an issue accessing services and facilities with their dog in the UK, the Equality and Human Rights Commission would be the best place to seek advice and support about their issue if it occurs in England, Scotland or Wales.
Or the Equality Commission for issues in Northern Ireland: www.equalityni.org