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Guide dog not a hot ticket to disability bash

Guide dog not a hot ticket to disability bash

Published: 07 Dec 2012 16:15 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Dec 2012 16:15 GMT+01:00

A partially-sighted Swedish woman was barred from a disability conference because another attendee was allergic to her guide dog, but has retaliated by reporting the incident to Sweden's Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen).

The conference, dubbed Today's Disabilities, was organized in early November 2012 by the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

"They said I couldn't attend because a woman at the conference was allergic to dogs," the woman wrote in her complaint.

The woman, who also suffers chronic pain, said event organizers had previously said it was fine to bring the dog with her.

The standard form used to submit reports to the Ombudsman asks what the nature of the would-be-discrimination is. The woman chose not to tick any of the boxes available - gender, ethnicty, age, religion or even disability - and instead wrote:

"There is a huge lack of knowledge about allergies; myths and ignorance have been allowed to become 'true' without anyone looking at the facts."

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Your comments about this article

21:51 December 7, 2012 by The Green Turtle
I have severe allergies that require steroid nasal sprays and anti-histamines that are so strong they keep me up at night. If Im around pets, my sinuses swell up something bad and I just cannot breath.

BUT,

I would never for one second think that my 'illness' required such special treatment that a blind woman and her guide dog would have to be removed from an area/event/room where I was.
14:51 December 8, 2012 by k2kats
Since most people with disabilities know that "competing needs" is generally a discriminatory farce and abhor it, there may be much more to this story. Otherwise...

If the participant who stayed was disabled by an unrelated condition and also had allergies, her request for a dog free environment had no standing.

If the participant was disabled by allergies or another respiratory condition, she may have had a medical need for a dog free environment. But even if that's the case, it's reasonable to expect that s/he would not attend an event where other people with disabilities might have a medical need for dogs.

That said... allergies to otherwise innocuous appearing furry heart beats and/or the products used on them (flea powder, etc.) can indeed be severe and, in some cases, even life threatening.
19:45 December 8, 2012 by dizzymoe33
My allergies are so severe that if a dog should lick my hand I go into an immediate asthma attack. Last time a dog touched my skin I was in the hospital with a tube down my throat to help me breathe they said I wouldn't survive the night.

I have a difficult time shopping at my local grocery store because people bring in their dogs, aid dogs or just the family pet and I have to just stop my shopping and leave. It is frustrating that I have to be accommodating towards other peoples disabilities but mine are constantly ignored and I am put in danger every time I have go shopping.

That said the person with the allergies should have realized someone with an aid animal would attend the event.
00:19 December 9, 2012 by Gjeebes
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