(China Plus) Guide dog access to public transport is once again under debate in China after a blind woman and her guide dog were refused access to the Beijing subway system, reports the Legal Daily.|
A dog under training to be a guide dog experiences taking a bus in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, on April 21, 2017. [File photo: IC]After 7 hours of negotiations with subway staff, Xu Qing and her guide dog were denied access to the subway earlier this month, as the dog "Daimeng" wasn't muzzled.
According to regulations on the operational safety of Beijing's rail transit, which took effect on May 1, 2015, a guide dog, when taking rail transit, should wear a harness as well as equipment preventing it from hurting others.
Professor Qiao Xinsheng with Zhongnan University of Economics and Law argues the regulations are understandable, as the safety of both the disabled and other passengers should be guaranteed.
However, guide dog experts say forcing the animals to wear a muzzle won't impact safety.
Liang Jia with the China Guide Dog Training Centre in Dalian suggests that wearing a muzzle won't allow dogs to pant, which is how dogs sweat, affecting the animals' overall concentration, suggesting this could lead to additional safety issues.
She also notes the animals are all well trained, with no reports of guide dogs hurting people.
Wang Lei, an associate professor of China University of Political Science and Law, argues there should be amendments to the current rules.
Chinese authorities began creating a national standard for guide dogs in September 2016. That draft is waiting for approval from the Standardization Administration.