Friendly Kaohsiung The City Government Tries to Establish "Guide Dog Autonomy"市府擬法令推動導盲犬 打造友善的城市
The visually impaired should feel safe while walking on the street with their guide dogs. People with visual disabilities crave to walk freely in the street. The City Government promotes an obstacle-free (friendly environment) in order to present Kaohsiung as being one of the guide dog friendly cities in the world.
There are approximately 2,000 visually impaired people living in Kaohsiung, and this would mean that there are around 20 guide dogs necessary to serve them. According to the International Guide Dog Association, there should be one guide dog per 100 people. However, the visually impaired people don't at present have any trained guide dogs to guide them in the city of Kaohsiung.
According to the Taiwan Guide Dog Association, there are only eight guide dogs currently available throughout the whole of the island. On top of that, they are all in the northern part of Taiwan. We are facing the challenges of the lack of professional guide dogs and trainers as well as the laws to take all their needs into accounts.
On August 7th last year, Mayor Hsieh signed a declaration together with the Taiwan Guide Dog Association on behalf of the Guide Dogs Friendly Environment. It reads as follows:
1.Respect the rights of the blind and partially- sighted people to use guide dogs.
2.Recognize that Kaohsiung City Government is a guide dog friendly environment.
3.Encourage citizens to promote a guide dog friendly environment.
Since this declaration, the whole city government has been the necessary steps taking to transform the city into be a friendly environment for blind and partially-sighted people.
What is the impact of guide dogs on the blind and the visually impaired? Mr. Minci Ke, the first guide dog user on the island, remarked that after he used the guide dog, he was able to walk three times faster than when he used a stick. Using guide dogs can increase the safety of the blind and the visually impaired because they make decisions or take a detour to avoid obstacles according to the conditions of roads. In addition, the guide dog is capable of remembering the routine path of his master after establishing a sense of understanding between each other. Guoruei Jhang, the second guide dog user in the nation, reveals that his guide dog knows where he is heading by what he is wearing; the guide dog guides his master to the ballpark or to school.
The most frequently seen guide dogs are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Standard Poodle. The Guide Dog Association points out that in order to train a dog, it has to place the guide dog within a host family two months after its birth in order that it may become familiar with people and the surroundings. After one to one and half years, guide dogs will be sent to the training center so that they may receive professional training from a professional trainer then, six to ten months later, they will find a suitable owner when the trainer and the user will co-train the guide dog for a further one to two months. Iif everything works out fine, the guide dog will be able to then serve its master.
A trained guide dog should always remain calm and gentle. In other foreign countries, while guide dogs are working, they never bark and get angry even if they have had their tails stepped on, or have been maliciously attacked. The City Government encourage the school to educate students to take care of and respect the dogs while they are on duty so as not to disturb them. They are therefore going to legislate a law to protect them.