A partially sighted man says he’s been forced to give up his guide dog over a rule he wasn’t even aware of.
Roger Debman, from Anfield, Liverpool, was left needing the aid of a guide dog in 2008, after he had two heart attacks and a stroke.
These left Roger partially sighted and without the confidence to go out by himself anymore, hence the aid of a guide dog.
According to the Liverpool Echo, the 57-year-old was given his first guide dog, Nevin, 10 years ago, but he retired earlier this year. As such, Roger was provided with his second dog, Peter, by Guide Dogs UK.
Roger has kept both dogs ever since, and takes them down to the park every morning as part of their daily routine.
Roger has been doing this ever since getting Peter, so he was surprised when Guide Dogs UK contacted him to say he’d been reported to them.
57-year-old Roger said:
I was told that I had been reported by someone off the estate for taking two dogs out at the same time.
I was then told by Guide Dogs UK that if I go out with Peter he has to go out in his harness at all times, and that I can only walk one dog at a time due to insurance.
Roger says this was the first he’d heard about not being able to take two guide dogs out at the same time, stating: ‘I have never heard of the rule, so how can I break it?’
Mr Debman added the situation is putting his dogs under a lot of stress:
I’ve now been walking them separately and the one who has been left at home is crying. I’m not prepared to put them through the stress.
It’s not feasible for me to walk them separately due to health conditions, it can put stress on my heart.
Roger also claims he was told if he goes out with Nevin – who’s now retired – he has to take out his white stick, which is something he wouldn’t normally feel the need to do.
Roger stated it’d left him questioning whether he’d be able to keep both dogs because he didn’t think the new guidelines would be fair to them.
He ultimately made the decision to return Peter, stating he was ‘absolutely gutted’ about it and how his freedom would now be stripped from him.
Roger’s wife of eight years, Debra Debman, claims this is only the second time she’s seen Roger ‘break down’.
The 51-year-old nurse said:
Giving Peter away is going to destroy Nevin as they are really close, as well as Roger. I don’t even like to think about what would happen.
Giving Peter away means Roger will only be able to travel with me, which means all my holidays from work will be used visiting family and friends.
Thankfully though, this doesn’t need to happen as Roger has been told he can now keep both dogs.
He posted an update to his Facebook page last Thursday (November 8), writing:
PETER IS STAYING…
[My trainer] has admitted he he has been gutted both for me and peter and this would have been wrong for both of us and would have caused immense damage to both of us .
Thank you all from the heart from Nevin Peter and myself
I’m glad this had a happy ending – my heart couldn’t have coped if Peter and Nevin had to be separated from each other!
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).