Saaldorf-Surheim in southern Upper Bavaria, Berchtesgadener Land district. The first officially assistance dog friendly municipality in Bavaria thanks to an excellent, open-minded mayor, Mr Bernhard Kern. For him, people with impairments are also very, very important. A pioneer for Bavaria in the campaign Assistance Dogs Welcome! Here are excerpts from the municipality’s press release:
“We want to set an example that in our community every person, whether with or without a disability, has equal rights and access to all areas of public life,” says Johanna Maier, who is running for the local council on behalf of the CSU. Michaela Schäffer, blind for almost 15 years and dependent on an assistance dog, told what life with an impairment is like. Because there were many things she could no longer do after she went blind. Thanks to her first guide dog, Berry, she fought her way back into everyday life.
After the talk, Bernhard Kern and Johanna Maier stuck the official “Assistance Dogs Welcome” sticker on the entrance door of the town hall. Enthusiastic about the idea and the education behind it, the mayor wants to ensure that all shops, medical practices, pharmacies and public buildings in his community receive such a sticker and that Saaldorf-Surheim thus becomes an absolute pioneer in Bavaria in terms of equal rights for people with disabilities.
It is meant to be a sign against discrimination of people with disabilities: The municipality of Saaldorf-Surheim is participating in the “Assistance Dogs Welcome” access campaign organised by Pfotenpiloten and supported by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Pfotenpiloten shares this
in a press release.
She explains the purpose of the campaign: “Since 2016, there has been a law on the equality of people with disabilities, which also stipulates the use of aids that are necessary for people with disabilities, including assistance dogs. This means that the dogs must be allowed access everywhere.
But apparently not all those in charge of authorities and shops know that not only blind people depend on dogs and therefore refuse assistance dogs access. And this despite the fact that dogs also help their owners with other, invisible limitations, such as epilepsy, diabetes, autism and PTSD. On Maier’s initiative, Mayor Bernhard Kern, Michaela Schäffer with assistance dog Ben and Michaela Stadler met at the town hall of the Saaldorf-Surheim municipality.
The “Assistance Dog Welcome” campaign was made possible by funding from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) and the Aktion Mensch.