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November 11, 2011

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Online help to find a guide dog

SHANGHAI yesterday launched a government-backed website to make it easier for visually impaired residents to apply for a guide dog.

The website - - is managed by Shanghai Guide Dog Association under a government office to help the disabled.

There web users can find the latest guide dog training information and apply online for a dog.

This is the first time local government has offered an online option for this.

However, applicants have to be patient in their search for a guide dog.

The city has registered around 160,000 visually impaired people, but the actual number is widely believed to far exceed this.

Yet at present there are only 14 professionally trained guide dogs in the city.

The government is now running a guide dog training program in an effort to help more people in need.

Initial efforts started several years ago and included cooperation with Japanese authorities to borrow expertise in training guide dogs.

The government will also use the website to raise public awareness about the special dog helpers, through strategies such as arranging publicity events.

There are also interactive sections online to answer questions regarding guide dogs. People in need can download application forms and submit them online for screening.

Guide dogs are exempt from legislation banning dogs in certain public places.

However, the guide dog users still find themselves refused by taxi drivers and bus drivers and passengers, often due to low awareness.

"The website should help understanding," an official with the office operating the website said yesterday.


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