The law and persons with disabilities

Under the Equal Status Acts 2000 – 2012 and the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003, accommodation providers, i.e. hotel and guesthouse proprietors, are prohibited from discriminating against persons with disabilities.

Hotel and guesthouse proprietors must make reasonable changes to how their services are provided, where without these changes it would be impossible or unduly difficult for persons with disabilities to avail of those services.

This is known as reasonable accommodation. Hotel and guesthouse proprietors provide reasonable accommodation when they facilitate Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs on their premises while it is assisting its owner.

These obligations also extend to all publicly accessible spaces including pubs, restaurants and theatres.  If you would like to know more or to speak directly with us please email lkennedy@guidedogs.ie

Travelling with a dog

European rules

Under Regulation EC 1107/2006 (Rights of Disabled People when Travelling by Air), European airports must provide assistance to passengers with a disability or reduced mobility. Similarly, airlines must provide assistance to persons with reduced mobility on board the flight.

Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs travel with their owner in the air cabin (free of charge) provided the air carrier, or its agent, or the tour operator has been notified in accordance with applicable national rules.

What Do You Need?

Since 2012, the Pet Passport travel requirements have been harmonised across the EU.

You need to have an EU Pet Passport for your Guide Dog or Assistance Dog certifying its microchip, rabies vaccination and echinococcus tapeworm treatment (the tapeworm treatment is not required when travelling from Ireland, Finland and the UK).

Where Do You Get the EU Pet Passport?

Your veterinary surgeon issues the pet passport to you.

Steps to Prepare Your Guide Dog or Assistance Dog:

–       Step 1: Microchip

Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs must be microchipped. Irish Guide Dogs microchips all pups before they qualify as a Guide Dog or Assistance Dog. The details, including the date of microchipping which is required for the passport, are in your qualification pack and health record book. Irish Guide Dogs holds the certificate of microchipping..  Your veterinary surgeon will also scan your Guide Dog or Assistance Dog to check for the microchip.

Step 2: Rabies Vaccination

Your veterinary surgeon will then vaccinate your Guide Dog or Assistance Dog against rabies. Vaccination details on the Passport must include name of vaccine, vaccination date and valid until date. Details must be endorsed by a veterinarian by signature and stamp. Your vet can then issue you the pet passport.

You can travel out of Ireland 21 days from the day after your Guide Dog or Assistance Dog has been vaccinated against rabies.

Step 3 Echinococcus Multilocularis Tapeworm Treatment

–       Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs must be treated not more than 120 hours (5 days) and not less than 24 hours (1 day) prior to scheduled arrival time in to Ireland. Echinococcus treatment details in the passport/certificate must include name, date, and time of treatment. Details must be endorsed by a veterinarian by signature and stamp.  Vets throughout the EU and further afield will be familiar with this requirement under the EU Pet Passport Scheme.

–       Echinococcus is not present in Ireland, the UK or Finland, and therefore, this tapeworm treatment is not required when travelling out of these countries..

–       This tapeworm is not dangerous for the dogs themselves, but can cause serious illness in humans.

Note – while treatment against ticks is not a compulsory requirement, you are advised that tick treatment is also recommended for your Guide Dog or Assistance Dog.

What is the Cost of the Pet Passport?

The costs involved are the cost of issuing the pet passport and the cost of the rabies vaccination. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) issues the paperwork to veterinary surgeons at a cost of 10 euro approximately.

Does the Pet Passport expire?

No. As long as the rabies vaccination is kept up-to-date the passport remains in date. If the vaccination lapses, you must wait 21 days to travel from the day after your Guide Dog or Assistance Dog has been re-vaccinated.

Incorrectly prepared Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs:

It is your responsibility to ensure your Guide Dog or assistance dog is prepared correctly under the EU Pet Passport Scheme. Incorrectly prepared Guide Dogs or Assistance Dogs may be returned to the Guide Dog’s or Assistance Dog’s country of origin or it may be quarantined until it meets the travel requirements.

Guide Dog Owners and Assistance Dog Owners are legally obliged to carry the EU Pet Passport when travelling with their Guide Dog or Assistance Dog. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine may carry out spot checks on Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs at the arrivals department in airports and ferry ports.

It is the responsibility of the Guide Dog Owner or Assistance Dog Owner to ensure their Guide Dog or Assistance Dog meets the travel requirements of both travel destinations when the Guide Dog Owner or Assistance Dog Owner goes on holidays. Guide Dog Owners or Assistance Dog Owners should contact the relevant embassy or consulate of their travel destination to ensure their Guide Dog or Assistance Dog meets the relevant travel requirements. For instance, when travelling in to Ireland the 3 year rabies vaccination is accepted. However, other travel destinations may require the 12 month vaccine booster.

Also, when travelling from a non-qualifying country (a country deemed high risk for rabies) a blood test is required. Please view the list of qualifying countries and non-qualifying countries on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine website: www.agriculture.gov.ie 

The best way to travel is direct to and from your holiday destination. Otherwise, if you stop-off in a country outside of the EU, during your journey, you are obliged to comply with the travel requirements of that country.

For further information you may contact:

Pet Passport Section, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Email: livetrade@agriculture.gov.ie

Tel: 01-6072000

Lo-call 1890 200 509

Web: www.agriculture.gov.ie

Travel Assistance

Regulation (EC) 1107/2006 which relates to the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air, provides a framework where Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs can travel free of charge with their owner on all airlines (in the passenger cabin operating out of EU airports.

Also, it allows for EU airports to ensure passengers with disabilities or passengers with reduced mobility receive assistance when travelling through the airport, and embarking and disembarking the airplane. This assistance may be booked through the airline or travel agent 24 -48 hours prior to departure.

However, Irish Guide Dogs recommends persons book their travel assistance and provide notification of your intention to travel with your Guide Dog or Assistance Dog, as soon as is possible, preferably at the time of booking your flights. This is because some airlines have limit on the number of Guide Dogs or Assistance Dogs (2 – 4 approximately) per flight.

Ferry companies also have to permit Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs on board as foot passengers also free of charge.

I need more help

If you need more information on any of the above or help on a specific matter please contact Lean Kennedy our Advocacy and Policy Coordinator at: lkennedy@guidedogs.ie or call us at HQ on 021 4878 200.