Assistance Animals given relief facilities at Australia Day celebrations

Headshot of Indigo Lemay-Conway
Indigo Lemay-ConwaySound Telegraph
Access specialist David Vosnacos, left, Eric Seery, guide dog Sundae and Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas.
Camera IconAccess specialist David Vosnacos, left, Eric Seery, guide dog Sundae and Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas. Credit: Guide Dogs WA/supplied

Assistance Animals will be given some extra love at annual Australia Day celebrations in Perth thanks to two pop-up special relief areas.

The relief areas will be at either end of Langley Park, which will be home to a host of entertainment from 3pm onwards and provide privacy and space for animals such as a guide dog to relieve themselves.

The new addition came about after VisAbility access specialist and occupational therapist David Vosnacos suggested the idea at a meeting last year.

“This comes off the back of the success with our new Assistance Animal Relief Areas at Perth Airport Terminals 1 and 4,” Mr Vosnacos said.

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“They were designed with input from VisAbility and Guide Dogs WA and are safe, designated environments that offer both comfort and dignity.”

Wellard local Eric Seery with Guide dog Sundae.
Camera IconWellard local Eric Seery with Guide dog Sundae. Credit: Guide Dogs WA/supplied

The areas will be accessible and contain a dog water bowl, Braille signage, waste bag dispenser, large bin and hand sanitiser stand, as well as a contained grassed area where dogs can go to the bathroom.

The pop-up facilities have been welcomed by guide dog user Eric Seery, who was matched with guide dog Sundae five years ago. He became blind as a child after contracting Stargardt disease.

“It just makes sense and, no pun intended, is convenient for guide dog users,” Mr Seery said.

“It’s a very busy event and with these facilities, I know that I have somewhere to take my dog so that she won’t toilet in an area where a family might want to sit down and take a picnic.”

Perth Mayor Basil Zempilas said the pop-up facilities were part of a long-term plan to make Perth the most inclusive city in Australia.

“We are building a city that is for everyone, so making our events accessible to all is key, so they can be enjoyed by the widest possible audience,” Mr Zempilas said.

“Furthermore, it’s a safe space for Assistance Animals to attend to their needs and takes the pressure off Assistance Animal users.”

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