Blind organisation ONCE condemns attack on woman with guide dog
Campaigners have condemned a brutal attack on a blind woman who was barred from a corner shop because of her guide dog.
The 48-year-old victim wanted to go into a grocery store but was set upon by the female owner wielding a baseball bat when she insisted both of them were allowed in as a matter of law.
She was struck in the arms, head and chest as she phoned the police for help and is now recovering in hospital.
The shocking incident happened in Madrid and according to Spain’s National Organisation for the Blind, is the first such case to be reported “for years”.
It was made even more frightening because the blind woman was accompanied by her son and her grandchild.
Police said the shop-keeper insisted she was not allowed into the store unless she left her dog outside. The woman explained it was an official blind dog and that assistant was not within her rights to bar them.
The irate shop-keeper was also stopped by officers and members of the public who intervened.
A spokesman for Spain’s ONCE organisation said they condemned the attack and wished the victim, named as María de las Viñas Iglesias, a speedy recovery.
They confirmed legislation allowed blind people and their dogs the right to enter public spaces, such as a shop.
“Guide dogs for the blind provide greater mobility, autonomy and security,” said a spokesman. “They are the eyes of people who cannot see.”
The organisation says it is particularly disappointed about the attack because they have been campaigning for years and have distributed thousands of leaflets to explain the law.
Supporters say they too are shocked at the attack but have praised the woman for standing up for her rights and those of others.
The woman, who suffered severe bruising, was later treated by medics and is now recuperating.