Guide Dog Users’ Bill of Rights

Guide Dog Users’ Bill Of Rights


  1. General
    1. The guide dog training program shall seek input from the consumer
         concerning the type of dog requested    throughout the matching process.
    2. Consumers shall expect that every effort shall be made to provide dogs in excellent health and appropriate temperament

The training program shall fully disclose to the consumer, in writing and in the accessible format of the consumer’s choice, all known issues concerning the dog’s health, temperament, behavior, and training prior to placement.

  1. The consumer shall expect a high level of competence from the training staff to develop sound skills of working a guide dog. 
  2. The guide dog training program shall correspond with individual consumers in the accessible format of the consumer’s choice, e.g., large print, Braille, audio recording, or electronic text.
  3. Guide dog training programs shall maintain their websites and on-line media, including newsletters, press releases, and other collateral materials in a format accessible to the blind.
  4. Equitable Treatment
    1. The consumers freedom of independent travel with a white cane shall not be restricted by the training program, unless doing so would interfere with the training process or adversely impact other consumers.
    2. Consumers shall be free to independently monitor and manage their personal health, including, but not limited to blood pressure monitoring, blood glucose testing, insulin injections, pain management regimens, and all other health maintenance routines. Assistance may be offered; however, the consumer has the right to refuse such assistance.
    3. The consumer shall have the right to discontinue training at any time with the full cooperation of the training program.    
    4. Consumers shall be afforded opportunities to independently travel off-campus accompanied by their guide dogs prior to completion of training At the discression of the training program.
    5. With the permission of the puppy raiser, consumers shall be given the option of contacting their dog’s puppy raisers near or after the completion of training. Further contact, such as meetings, phone calls, etc., is at the sole discretion of the consumer and will not be required, expected, or discouraged by the training program.
  5. Informed Choice/Due Process
    1. All binding contracts, agreements, and other documents shall be available for review in the accessible format of the consumer’s choice prior to making a commitment for services.    
    2. Consumers shall be provided, in the accessible format of the consumer’s choice, all policies, practices, or procedures that govern their behavior while participating in services, e.g., engaging in professional endeavors, use of cell phones, computers, or other technology, and furloughs, prior to making a commitment to receive services.
    3. Consumers shall be afforded the right to utilize the services of an advocate of their choice. The designation of a consumer advocate shall be made in writing to the guide dog training program.
    4. All decisions or actions of the training program that affect the relationship with consumers, individually or collectively, shall have specific written due process procedures, including mediation options. Due process may be initiated by a consumer or a designated advocate.
    5. All decisions and actions of the training program, such as denial or discontinuation of services, removal of a dog, or repossession of a harness, shall be made in writing and in the accessible format of the consumer’s choice, with a detailed explanation for the decision made or the action taken.
    6. The removal or repossession of a guide dog for reasons of safety shall include an assessment of the working team through direct personal observation by an individual competent to make such an assessment. The specific safety concerns that serve as grounds for the removal or repossession shall be provided in writing to the consumer in the accessible format of the consumer’s choice prior to the removal or repossession, and/or to an advocate acting on behalf of the consumer.
  6. Confidentiality
    1. All personal information about a consumer, whether verbal or in writing,   shall be kept confidential. This confidentiality policy extends to all staff and volunteers of the guide dog training program.
    2. A consumer’s refusal to allow other training programs to share information during the application process   shall not be used as the sole grounds for denial of services.
    3. A consumer’s personal information and records shall not be shared with anyone without the expressed written permission of the consumer authorizing the training program to release information. Only the information that is authorized for release may be shared.
    4. No personal information shall be shared with any other person or organization without the expressed written and signed consent of the consumer. In such cases, only the information authorized for release may be shared.
    5. Individual consumers shall have the right to access any and all of the information gathered or collected about them by the guide dog training program and contained in their files.
  7. Ownership & Disposition
    1. The Consumer shall be given legal title, ownership, and possession of the dog upon completion of the training program. Such title, ownership, or possession shall not be revoked, suspended, or otherwise interfered with without due process and in accordance with other provisions of this document.
    2. Follow up services shall be optional. Invitations for follow up services may be made when a representative will be in the area, with the understanding that the consumer may decline the offer without consequences.
    3. The retirement and disposition of the guide dog shall be at the discretion of the consumer. Training programs may offer advice and guidance, but may not impose mandatory retirement, unless doing so is necessary to protect the dog from abuse, maltreatment, neglect, or for reasons of safety as provided for in this document.
    4. The disposition of the dog after retirement will be the
         decision    of the consumer, unless the retirement is the result of abuse, maltreatment, or neglect.
  8. Abuse, Maltreatment, or neglect
    1.                                                                i.      Consumers shall have the right to know the identities of those who file allegations of abuse, maltreatment and/or neglect and shall be given the opportunity to answer such allegations before the training program commences any action. Anonymous complaints shall not be accepted.
    2. The removal or repossession of a guide dog based upon allegations of abuse, maltreatment, or neglect shall only be done after a thorough investigation by an objective third party of competent jurisdiction over the consumer and the dog. A detailed explanation of the decision to remove or repossess a guide dog shall be given to the consumer and/or a designated consumer advocate in writing, in the accessible format of the consumer’s choice.



About harnessup

The National Association of Guide dog Users is the nation’s leading membership organization for blind people who use guide dogs. NAGDU is a strong and proud division of the National Federation of the Blind. NAGDU conducts public awareness campaigns on issues of guide dog use, provides advocacy support for guide dog handlers who face discrimination, supports sound policy and effective legislation to protect the rights of guide dog users, offers educational programs to school and civic organizations, and functions as an integral part of the National Federation of the Blind. For more information about the National Association of Guide Dog Users and to support their work, you can visit their website at HTTP://WWW.NAGDU.ORG Or send an email message to Info@NAGDU.ORG
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