por A-24, em 04.06.14
Transport minister Norman Baker has stepped in after complaints from blind people that their dogs were being ejected from public transport on religious grounds.
Mr Baker told bus companies that religious objections were not a sufficient reason to eject any passenger with a well-behaved dog.
He said: “If dogs are causing a nuisance then the driver has every right to ask the owner to leave. But it is much more questionable to be asked to remove a dog for religious reasons. One person’s freedom is another person’s restriction.”
It is illegal under disability discrimination laws to refuse a blind person and guide dog on board a bus or in a taxi. But Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said it regularly receives complaints from members about the practice. The National Federation of the Blind said the problem was “common and getting worse”.
Its spokesman Jill Allen-King said she had often been left on the kerb by Muslim taxi drivers who had refused to take her dog. She has had similar problems with Muslim bus drivers. She said: “Last year a Muslim taxi driver went mad when I tried to get in with my dog. He said, ‘I have to go home now and wash myself’.”
George Herridge, 73, said he was asked to get off two buses in Reading, Berkshire, last year when passengers objected to his labrador guide dog, Andy. “I was coming home on the bus and there were some Muslim children screaming,” he said.
“The driver pulled over and asked me to get off. It is a lengthy walk into town from where I live and there is no other means of transport.” The Muslim Council of Britain urged tolerance and common sense on the issue. A spokesman said: “Muslim drivers should have no hesitation in allowing guide dogs in their taxi or bus. Some schools of Islam regard the saliva of dogs as impure and others think there is no problem.“If a dog does lick you, then it’s not the end of the world – just go home and wash.”