- From:The Daily Telegraph
- April 23, 2012
IT'S against the law - not to mention downright unconscionable - that a blind man and his family were turned away from a motel because the owner refused to let his guide dog stay.Police were even called after Jason Merkley, his wife and 14-month-old daughter had their Easter holiday cut short. The Chatswood family arrived at a motel at The Entrance, only to be told they couldn't stay because of Mr Merkley's guide dog Whiskey.
"Whiskey was already harnessed when I got him out of the car but the manager's saying, 'No dog, no dog' and my wife said, 'It's a guide dog and my husband is vision impaired'," Mr Merkley said.
The manager's refusal to let them stay was illegal under discrimination laws. However, Mr Merkley didn't name the motel because he filed an official complaint and didn't want to influence its due process.
He and wife Jenny tried to explain to the motel manager that guide dogs were legally allowed into all venues and gave him a card with the rights of a guide dog user. The manager took no notice, flinging the card on the ground.
The couple were forced to drive back to Sydney as it was late and there was no other suitable accommodation because it was the Easter weekend.
As his wife drove, Mr Merkley called the police, who told him to take it up with Wyong Shire Council, which now intends to fine the motel.