It is not compulsory to put a muzzle on a guide dog and this has been in effect for 15 years, so the guide dogs do not have to wear muzzles on trains either. But not all the ticket inspectors know this fact. Dóra Pozsgay has reported on what happened to her and Noé on the train from Pécs to Budapest. We will also write the legal background here.
“It was not the first time that I had travelled on a train with my guide dog. Sometimes I have had some problems with the ticket-inspectors, but I have never had such a big problem like this time. On Wednesday I set off with Dani and Noé after my exams to relax a bit and I said ’yes’ to visit a museum in Budapest. We were invited by one of the organisations for the visually impaired people. Just like every time we got on the train to Budapest and were waiting for the ticket-inspector who soon arrived.”
“In a humiliating style did the ticket-inspector demand an explanation of whose dog it was and why the dog did not have a muzzle on and from time to time he repeated that the dog was endangering his life because the dog might have bitten him at any time. I told him that
Noé was my guide dog, that is why Noé was wearing the guide dog harness and according to the regulations it was not necessary to put a muzzle on her. His reaction was that the dog might bite him and it was my task to put a muzzle on the dog no matter what.”
“At the first stop he had something else to do and he left but soon he came back and kept on fearing his life and emphasizing that he could not see any sign on the dog which would have proven that Noé was a guide dog. The name of the foundation is on the harness, which includes the phrase ’guide dog’, too. I also told him that I had the dog’s certificate about the guide dog exam and I even offered to show the injection certificate of the dog with all the injections Noé had. He did not ask for these documents and he went on talking about the size of the dog, who was lying at our feet all the time; did not move a bit and did not endanger anybody as the guide dogs are all very gentle. We also referred to the business regulations of the MÁV but it did not have any impact on him.”
They made a complaint
“I have only had positive experiences with the ticket-inspectors so far and I do not understand what the problem was with us. We immediately made a complaint when we got off the train in Budapest as we thought we could not leave it at that. Additionally, I mentioned this case to the Baráthegyi Guide Dog School so that something should be done because this case is worth talking about. One reason is that nobody can have the ticket-inspector’s demeanour with a visually impaired person like he did with me; the other reason is that he should not go on with his behaviour on another train with another visually impaired person. Moreover, this ticket-inspector did not know the regulations and continued quarrelling.
I wonder what the end of the case will be and to tell you the truth I am afraid of travelling again after this incident. It is true that there are more ticket-inspectors who welcome us and they are ready to help and be friendly. But what is going to happen if I stumble into a person similar to him? Of course, I did not behave like a coward because I had a lot of counter- arguments and examples but what can you do if your arguments are totally ignored?”
As soon as MÁV reacts to Dóra’s complaint, we will give you information about it. Meanwhile it is worth looking at the page where Dóri keeps on recording the stories of Noé. You can read these here.
Good to know
The Baráthegyi Guide Dog School has many times called people’s attention to the regulations referring to travelling with a guide dog according to the regulations of 2009. Here comes the passage that refers to train travels:
The person with a guide dog can travel with the guide dog without a muzzle.
There have been many conflicts that a guide dog was not allowed to enter a shop, of course, lacking the knowledge of the regulations. The visually impaired people (also the trainers of the guide dogs) can enter all the buildings and places which are not closed for the public. These are: means of public transport, shops, food stores, catering places, super- and hypermarkets, markets, fairs, accommodations, playing grounds, cultural, educational, social, child-welfare institutions, public baths and zoos.
It is worth knowing that in institutions (places) equipped with escalators, the person having a guide dog is entitled to use the escalator in working order but out of action. It means that the person can ask the operator to stop the escalator.
A lot of interesting things and information can be found in our article (Good to know) about guide dogs which can be read here.
MÁV’s reaction to the case:
Our company is very sorry about the case. We apologize to Dóra and please excuse us for our ticket-inspector’s behaviour.
MÁV-START initiated an immediate investigation into the case.
During our trainings we put more emphasis on the information and regulations in connection with the guide dogs. According to our regulations the guide dogs can travel on the trains without muzzles. We have always called the ticket-inspectors’ attention to this fact. The guide dogs should have certificates which the owner of the dog has to keep on oneself together with the injection book. These entitle the dog to travel in public transport without a muzzle free of charge.
General information in connection with the transport of dogs is available on our website.
“According to our business regulation it is not allowed to transport a dog without a muzzle or a device similarly providing safety (e.g. closed carrier) except for the guide dogs. It is not allowed to take a live animal into the dining car except for guide and police dogs in service, that is with the exception of using a closed carrier on trains that require seat tickets. The guide dog is not considered referring to the number of transported dogs. The guide dog is not allowed to travel on the seats of the trains.’