Guide dogs for the blind want to be allowed to walk without a muzzle

Guide dogs for the blind want to be allowed to walk without a muzzle


© Evgeny Biyatov / RIA Novosti

Visually impaired people will soon be able to not be afraid of fines for non-compliance with the rules of walking dogs. It will become impossible to bring them to administrative punishment for finding a guide dog in the wrong place. Such norms are contained in the bill adopted in the second reading at the plenary session of the State Duma on September 27. Legislators are sure that what is a violation for pet owners is a forced necessity for the visually impaired and their four-legged assistants.

Without fear of fines

The bill proposes amendments to the federal law on responsible treatment of animals, passed in December 2018. The current regulations prohibit the free movement of any animal when crossing roads, in elevators and common areas of apartment buildings, as well as in yards, children’s and sports grounds. Walking pets is allowed only in specially designated areas established by local authorities.

The authors of the initiative believe that not everyone can comply with all these requirements. For example, blind people who use the help of guide dogs, for obvious reasons, cannot exclude the possibility of “uncontrolled movement of the animal.” Or, say, comply with the requirements to clean up dog excrement. So, visually impaired people cannot be fined for this.

In addition, the dog that accompanies the blind cannot be muzzled, legislators are sure. Otherwise, the animal will not be able to pick up the owner’s fallen cane or other thing dropped by him. Therefore, it is proposed to supplement the law with norms that abolish the requirements for walking guide dogs.

The authors of the bill, the legislators of the Perm Territory, submitted this initiative to the State Duma in June 2020. In March 2021, the document was adopted in the first reading. And on September 27, at the plenary session, they adopted it in the second reading. According to Vladimir Burmatov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Ecology, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, the document is completely ready for the third reading.

No inconvenience to others

The change proposed to be made to the current law will not bring inconvenience to others, the authors of the document believe. After all, a specially trained guide dog is “friendly, has the skills not to be distracted by external stimuli, and to concentrate as much as possible on the road.”

The initiators also suggested replacing the concept of “guide dog” with the term “guide dog” in the text of the document. “This is a dog with a set of equipment that accompanies a visually impaired person and for which a document has been issued confirming its special training,” the explanatory note says.

Vladimir Sipkin, president of the All-Russian Society of the Blind, explained to Parliamentary Newspaper that in Russian law a guide dog is defined as a technical means of rehabilitation for the visually impaired. The use of any other term will be contrary to the norms of the current legislation. In addition, according to the dictionaries of definitions published by the World Blind Union, it is correct to use the term “guide dog for the blind.”

One and a half years to prepare

Today, a guide dog is provided to the visually impaired free of charge upon application, which is processed through the MFC or the Social Insurance Fund. The state pays compensation for the maintenance and care of animals. In 2022, it is 28,748.61 rubles per year. True, after filling out an application for a four-legged assistant, you still have to wait.

According to Vladimir Sipkin, the preparation of a guide dog includes selection work with breeding stock, mating and pregnancy management, birth and feeding, socialization of puppies until they reach 8-10 months.

“On average, the training of a guide dog takes about a year and a half,” said the chairman of the BOC. “And the cost of her education is from 850 thousand to more than a million rubles.”

Four-legged helpers are trained in the necessary skills at the Russian School for the Training of Guide Dogs of the VOS and the Dog Training Center “Assistant Dogs for the Disabled”. In the first school, more than 60 dogs are trained a year, in the second – up to 25. According to Sipkin, today, according to two schools, more than 400 disabled people are waiting for their turn to receive a guide dog.

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