Blind athlete sues popular winery after guide dog barred entry

South African Paralympic swimmer Hendri Herbst will take a well-known Cape Town winery Durbanville Hills to the Equality Court.

Read also: Paraplegic man surfs Cape waves, starts inspiring project to get others on board

The blind Paralympic athlete is suing after the winery refused to allow him and his guide dog Stan inside the restaurant back in 2014.

It's alleged that Herbst was told that the restaurant has a policy against dogs and that he and his party would have to sit outside.

He was also apparently instructed that he would have to ask a male to escort him to the bathroom as the guide dog was not allowed.

The SA Guide Dogs Association says this legal case has the potential to raise awareness about guide dogs and the rights of people with disabilities.

Read more: Blind motivational speaker shares how life changed after losing her eyesight

The association's Pieter van Niekerk says that visually impaired people and their guide dogs are denied access to spaces on an on-going basis.

Van Niekerk argues that greater public commitment and awareness is needed to drive the acceptance of guide dogs in society, especially in retail contexts.

He says it's undignified to deny a visually-impaired person and their working dog entry into the bathroom.

We need to get the public and especially retailers educated.

Pieter Van Niekerk, Head of Public Relations at SA Guide Dogs Association

It is actually the right of a person with a visual or physical impairment. And we also train autistic dogs at the SA Guide Dogs Association.

Pieter Van Niekerk, Head of Public Relations at SA Guide Dogs Association

We definitely see this as a landmark case.

Pieter Van Niekerk, Head of Public Relations at SA Guide Dogs Association

These dogs are highly trained, you will not be at risk by allowing them access to your property.

Pieter Van Niekerk, Head of Public Relations at SA Guide Dogs Association

Van Niekerk explains the costs and process involved in training guide dogs and measure in place to promote awareness.

Take a listen:

Cover photograph: Hendri Herbst Facebook


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