Thanks to China Daily for this update on service dogs in China.
Shanghai guide dogs kept on a short leash
By Miao Qing (China Daily)
SHANGHAI: The city’s first guide dog program for the blind has already stumbled on a legal technicality.
The first batch of guide dogs, six labrador puppies, has been sent to foster families ahead of a comprehensive training program for the blind.
However, city laws that ban dogs from streets, parks and public transport could prevent the guide dogs from carrying out their duties.
The regulation says that dogs will only be allowed in public places if they need to be registered, quarantined, inoculated or to receive physical examinations.
The municipal public security bureau said that, so far, only trained police dogs are allowed to enter public places like airports and subways to carry out specific missions.
Bao Yu, a staff member from the Shanghai Association for the Disabled (SAD), which is responsible for the guide dog program, said they are currently in negotiations with the security bureau to make a legal exception for guide dogs.
“Training guide dogs is still a very new idea in Shanghai and also China. So it will inevitably face some problems when being put into practice,” she told China Daily.
However, Bao is confident the city’s existing regulation on canine administration can be amended for guide dogs.
In addition to the regulation hiccup, guide dogs and their masters face other challenges in Shanghai, like roads.
Bao said she was concerned about safety because the city’s traffic “is not very ordered”.
Shanghai announced its first attempt to help local blind and visually impaired people with the guide dog program earlier last month. After the guide dog puppies reach the right age, they will be sent to the Nanjing Police Dog Institution in neighboring Jiangsu Province to get professional guide dog training.
China still lacks a comprehensive guide dog system, and Shanghai is the testing ground for the program.
A second litter of guide dog puppies will be ready for foster homes soon.
Shanghai has some 160,000 blind or visually impared people.
In addition to the guide dog program, the local government provides services for the blind, such as in-depth training walks, and provides free walking canes.