Wednesday, May 17, 2006
The Taiwan Guide Dog Association recently called on the public to support its plan to set up a guide dog training school for the benefit of the visually impaired. The call deserves a positive response from the government. There is a great demand for guide dogs on this island.
The association made the appeal at a guide dog carnival it sponsored at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in downtown Taipei. Chen Chang-chin, secretary-general of the association, said that Taiwan currently has around 50,000 blind or visually impaired people, but there are only 14 qualified guide dogs, all of which were trained in other countries.
Guide dogs are assistance dogs trained to lead blind or visually impaired people around obstacles. These dogs are commonly called “Seeing Eye” dogs, but, according to the encyclopedia, Seeing Eye is the name of only one of many guide dog training schools.
Chang Chiu-hsiung, president of the association, said that although a law to protect the physically and mentally challenged ensures the right of freedom of movement of guide dogs and young dogs under training in public transportation systems and business places, quite a few places still deny these dogs entry. It is time guide dogs received more acceptance by the public and operators of public establishments.
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