Shops’ ban on guide dog pups ‘wuff justice’

�A volunteer guide dog puppy walker has hit out over the negative attitude of shopkeepers to training.

June Breeze, of Finucane Gardens, Rainham, is angry after some shopkeepers in Havering have banned guide dog puppies from their shops.

She said: “I think it is awful because it makes it very difficult to teach these dogs how to behave in the stores.”

June, who helps to teach the dogs basic skills before they go on to training centres for Guide Dogs For The Blind, says that Tesco and Co op allow the dogs into their stores but smaller independent shops refuse to let the dogs in.

She also says that stores in Upminster are welcoming, but some confectionary and food shops in Elm Park force her to leave the dogs outside.

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June said: “It’s really ridiculous because I always go out with a purpose to get something and if they refuse to allow the dogs in, it means that I have wasted my time going out.

‘Just crazy’

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“Shops have to allow in guide dogs but it’s just crazy that they won’t let in these puppies who will one day be guide dogs.”

June and her husband Brian, first signed up to became volunteer guide dog puppy walkers for Guide Dogs For The Blind about eight years ago.

The pair take in the puppies at six weeks and help to provide them with basic skills until they are 14 months old when they are transferred to the offical training centres.

June says that over the years, there has been very little change in attitude towards the puppies and is calling for there to be a change in law. She said: “I have been fighting this from day one, but it is something that needs to be changed.”

Richard Huggins, puppy walking manager at Guide Dogs For The Blind, said: “Visiting shops and other public places is an essential part of a guide dog puppy’s training.

“The law is very clear that shop owners must allow guide dog owners and their dogs into shops, but they don’t have the same obligation to let guide dog puppies in. We rely on the goodwill of shopkeepers, but unless puppies experience visiting shops, they won’t learn how to deal with that environment and will miss out on an important part of their training.”

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