Paralympian swimmer, Hendri Herbst is taking Durbanville Hills Wine Estate to court after an upsetting visit to the estate in 2014. Herbst’s guide dog was denied access to a restaurant on the property.
Herbst, who lives in Stellenbosch expressed outrage after his guide dog was denied access to a restaurant on the property. The incident occurred in 2014, during a family visit to the estate.
On arrival the group were refused access to tables inside the restaurant because of the estate’s “no dogs allowed policy”, even though Herbst explained that his dog Stan was in fact a guide dog. They were told they could only sit outside.
To not make a scene, they agreed, but when Herbst needed to use the bathroom, he was told his dog could not guide him to the bathroom, and that he should ask a family member to accompany him. They decided to leave thereafter.
“I took this incident seriously because of the blatant arrogance to dismiss the fact that he was not a pet, but a guide dog. You and your dog are one entity – the only difference is the wet nose.” Herbst told News 24.
Having dealt with similar incidents in the past, he decided to approach the Stellenbosch Legal Aid Clinic last year to assist in litigation against Durbanville Hills at the Equality Court, which will begin this month.
Spokesperson for wine production company Distell, Dennis Matsane, said both parties’ arguments will be heard in full before the court and the company denies any unfair discrimination against Herbst.
We spoke to South African Guide Dogs Association (SAGDA) spokesperson and service dog owner, Pieter van Niekerk who said such incidents are very common and that the community need to be more aware of people with differences.
“Occurrences like these are very common and we deal with them often, even just this week, we have already had two similar issues reported.”
He said that the community need to make themselves more aware of people with disabilities and their guide, service or social dogs.
“All retailers should train their staff to be aware of people with disabilities and know the identification symbols showing what type of guide dogs they have with them and for what reasons, it is the right of all people suffering from disabilities to have their guide dog with them at all times.”
Niekerk explained that people should not be worried about the behavior of these service dogs as they are highly trained and extremely well behaved.
All these service dogs start out as puppies and can be identified by their blue puppy jackets with the South African Guide Dog Association for the blind logo on it.
A Guide Dog always wears a leather harness.
A service dog usually assists a physically or mentally disabled person who could be on crutches or in a wheelchair. Children can also have service dogs.
Service dogs wear bright red jackets that say “Service Dog” with the SA Guide Dog logo.
Learn more about the rights of working dog owners at The South African Guide Dog Association
Pictures: Facebook & SA Guide Dog Association