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Discrimination towards People Partnered with Assistance Dogs in Canada: Implications for Policy and Practice

In: Society & Animals
Authors:
Taryn M. Graham Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary Canada

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Kelsey Lucyk Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary Canada

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Lucy Diep Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary Canada

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Melanie J. Rock Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary Canada

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Abstract

This study examines alleged discrimination towards people partnered with assistance dogs, as represented by Canadian newspapers. Doing so expands understanding of attitudes held toward assistance dogs and highlights everyday challenges faced by the people with whom they are partnered. Articles included for analysis were tabulated according to where instances of alleged discrimination happened, the type of assistance dog that was involved, and the reported reasons that were given as grounds for denying accommodation. Reported reasons were grouped further into five themes (health risks; ignorance; nuisance; cultural beliefs and/or religious convictions; and assault). Education programs, intersectoral collaboration, and policy changes are all recommended to tackle the challenges identified.

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