View Products |  Sign In

Assistance Dogs

August 11, 2020

A Canberra woman is taking two Blue Mountains accommodation providers to the Australian Human Rights Commission for breaching the Disability Discrimination Act.

Melanie Maclean said she has lodged a complaint with the commission after Leura House and 3 Sisters Motel declined to take her booking because of her son’s assistance dog. Both providers said they were unaware of legislative requirements at the time.

On June 30, Ms Maclean tried to make bookings for the July school holidays at 3 Sisters Motel and Leura House. When both were refused, she couldn’t face the prospect of a third rejection and decided to stay at home.

She said their labrador Shiloh is a certified assistance dog who has been hugely beneficial for her seven-year-old son Gus, who is on the autism spectrum.

“He hasn’t had a full meltdown in two years. He self-regulates with her,” Ms Maclean said.

“There is no way that I would go anywhere without her.”

Ms Maclean said life was challenging enough for her son and precluding him from having a holiday with his assistive technology – equivalent to a hearing aid or wheelchair – was hurtful.

Certified assistance dogs are required by law to be clean and groomed, have had extensive training, including toilet training, and also have documentation, she said.

Ms Maclean said she’s not seeking monetary compensation from either business, she just wants to generate awareness.

“I want them to accept animals and acknowledge that,” Ms Maclean said.

3 Sisters Motel manager Jason Dorrington said until Ms Maclean had sent him a link to an article explaining that service animals must be accepted at any property, he was unaware of the law.

“I read it and said I would take the booking and thanked her for sending the email to me. I had no idea service animals had to be accepted,” he said.

Mr Dorrington said he would accept certified service animals now.

Garry Maxfield from Leura House described it as a “misunderstanding”.

“Along with other accommodation providers we weren’t aware of the rules, the requirements and the certification,” he said.

“In the future it’s not a problem.”

Ms Maclean also raised the matter with Blue Mountains Council.

“Council is liaising with local accommodation providers about federal legislation that requires that assistance dogs be welcomed at their establishments,” a Blue Mountains Council spokeswoman said.

“Council is not a regulator of discrimination. Council acts as an advisor with respect to the provisions of discrimination legislation. This follows council’s commitment to the principle of equal access for all.”

The office of Gareth Ward, the State Minister for Disability Services, Families and Communities declined to comment on federal legislation.

The Gazette contacted the Australian Human Rights Commission, but a spokesperson said it was not their policy to comment on complaints.

Register Your Dog

  • Recent News

    Veteran Gets His Service Dog

    September 21, 2020

    It’s a companionship like no other. Many would probably describe it as unmatched loyalty, the bond between a dog and their human. “Oh, he’s a gem, he’s the best, he really is, he’s got my back for sure,” United States Army Veteran John Daniels said. “He’s everything, he’s absolutely everything. I don’t even know how […]

    Read more

    Working Dogs Of 9/11

    September 21, 2020

    When veterinarian Cynthia Otto was in Manhattan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks helping support the search and rescue dogs, she heard rumors about the possible impact on the dogs’ long-term health. “I was at Ground Zero and I would hear people make comments like, ‘Did you hear that half of the dogs that responded […]

    Read more

    Rescuing Future Service Dogs

    September 21, 2020

    A South Texas woman has dedicated her life to helping veterans overcome Posttraumatic Stress Disorder by training shelter dogs to become service animals. Cherry Jenkins, 60, founded In Dog We Trust in 2012. “We are an organization that rescues dogs that would otherwise be euthanized in shelters and we train them for veterans with PTSD,” Jenkins […]

    Read more

    Working Dog Vito

    September 21, 2020

    The Soldiers of the 901st Military Police Detachment (Military Working Dog) held a retirement ceremony for Sgt. 1st Class Vito here Sept. 17, praising him for his nearly nine years of dedicated service to the Army as a military working dog. Vito, a Belgian Malinois who served as a Patrol Explosive Detector Dog and deployed […]

    Read more

    Corsos For Heroes

    September 21, 2020

     According to the non-profit organization Corsos for Heroes, America loses on average 20 veterans a day to suicide and they’re trying to cut those numbers down by providing service dogs to those in need. It started with a motorcycle ride and police escort as one veteran, Rafael Ortiz Fonseca, who this year almost lost himself […]

    Read more

    Canine Connection

    September 21, 2020

    Maryland Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D-Prince George’s) has made serving military veterans a major part of his mission as a public servant. It has won him countless plaudits and awards through the years. Now he’s getting a most unique tribute for his advocacy. Peters himself was deployed in Saudi Arabia from 1990-91 and was awarded […]

    Read more

    Future Service Dogs

    September 21, 2020

    Four puppies embarked on their two-year journey to become service dogs Friday when Dogs with Wings paired them with their new foster families in Grande Prairie. Teresa Boudreault, a puppy raiser and board member for Dogs with Wings, was among those paired with a puppy during the Puppy Pick Up Parade at the Muskoseepi Park […]

    Read more

    Service Dogs Keep A Distance

    September 21, 2020

    The pandemic has affected everyone, even service animals. These are working animals whose handlers depend on them for their safety. For some of the service animal community, the pandemic has forced them to adjust to a social distant lifestyle. Aggie Guide Dogs and Service Dogs (AGS) is a student-run organization that has been on campus […]

    Read more