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Civic group planning to set up guide dog school.

The China Post, Taiwan.
Saturday, April 08, 2006.

The Taiwan Guide Dog Association on Saturday called for the public to support its plan to set up a guide dog training school to benefit the visually impaired in Taiwan.

The association made the appeal at a guide dog carnival it sponsored at the Sun Yat sen Memorial Hall in downtown Taipei.

Chen Chang-chin, secretary-general of the association, noted that Taiwan currently has around 50,000 visually impaired people, but there are only 14 qualified guide dogs, and all of them were trained in other countries.

"This is why the association has decided to set up a school to train the best friends for the visually impaired," Chen said.

The association started to solicit money last year and has so far collected NT$10 million (US$307,700), but it is still NT$50 million short of its goal, Chen said, adding that the association will continue to sponsor a series of activities and launch a campaign to solicit more donations for the cause.

Chang Chiu-hsiung, president of the association, said that although a law to protect the physically and mentally challenged ensures the right of freedom of movement of guide dogs and young dogs under training in public transportation systems and business places, quite a few places still refuse these dogs entry.

Chang said the campaign of the association this year will focus on the concept of "no shutting out."

He said that guide dogs have to undergo long-term training. They are mild and stable and don't bark or bite recklessly, he said, expressing the hope that the public will allow the dogs more freedom of movement.

Director Liang Hsiu-shen also took the opportunity to publicize a TV movie featuring a guide dog he directed for the Public Television Service, which will debut April 19.

End of article.

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