Robyn Cotton’s birthday was ruined after her service dog Ombra was disallowed into the casino. Ombra was trained to assist Cotton’s medical condition.
Usually dogs are not allowed into the casino. This policy affected Cotton last week when she and her friends went to celebrate her birthday at Pretoria casino and got bounced back because she wanted to go-in with her service dog Ombra.
Cotton struggled to get the security guard on duty to understand that the dog wasn’t just a dog so-to-say but a dog that was highly trained to assist her maintain her overall physical health.
“She is my life. She does wear a jacket that I have, and she has a little card that I carry in my wallet. But they weren’t even interested. They just don’t care.” Cotton said.
Cotton has got issues with her sight, but doesn’t use a cane, she has a medical condition, which Ombra helps her with. Meanwhile, the casino authorities have apologize for being so lousy in their action.
SA Guide Dogs Association of South Africa spokesperson Pieter van Niekerk have provided insight about service dogs after noting that what happen to Cotton wasn’t far from what those who have service dogs go through.
”Section 9 of the Constitution prevented discrimination on the basis of disabilities, and the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act gave effect to this section. Violations include failing to remove obstacles that unfairly restrict disabled people, failing to take reasonable steps to accommodate their needs, or depriving them of goods or services because they are disabled.
”For hygiene purposes, the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act prohibited animals from areas where food was prepared or handled. But the exception is for a guide dog with a blind person. The association believes that by extension, this also applies to registered service dogs for people who have certain other conditions.
”I would love it if companies brush up on the difference between the dowager sneaking her teacup dog into a restaurant in her bejewelled handbag, and the service dogs who play an important part in maintaining the independence and well-being of their humans. People who have a guide or service dog, carry a card to say their dog is trained.
”Puppies who are in training to be a service dog wear a blue jacket. The association’s logo and the words “guide dog puppy” are on the front of its little jacket. These puppies need to get used to the hustle and bustle of public life as they go through their training with their puppy raiser on public transport, in malls and in restaurants.
”A guide dog for the blind always wears a leather harness. A service dog usually assists a physically or mentally disabled person who could be on crutches or in a wheelchair. These dogs wear red jackets bearing the SA Guide Dog logos and they also assist children.
”The dogs are also helpful to autistic children who have a tendency to bolt off or run when frightened or distracted. They provide companionship for these children who are lonely due to their autism, and a source of comfort and interaction that is free from anxiety.
”Other service dogs assist people who are in wheelchairs to pick up items dropped on the floor, can even open or close drawers and cupboards, can help to switch on light switches, or is able to fetch items from one person and take them to another on a property.”