Assistance Animal Policy for Visitors
Assistance animals are welcome at the four Gardens – Edinburgh, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan - in line with the Equality Act 2010.
Assistance animals are defined by the Equality Act 2010 as dogs that are individually trained to assist a person with a disability. Examples of such assistance include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, calming a person during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Assistance animals are working animals, not pets.
While the Equality Act does not describe any assistance animals other than dogs, we acknowledge that other species of assistance animal are used and so we apply the same broad definitions as above to those.
In order to enter the Gardens, any assistance animal must:
- be highly trained.
- be under the control of the owner/custodian at all times
- be harnessed, leashed, or tethered unless doing so would interfere with the animal’s work or the owner/custodian’s disability prevents the use of such devices. In such a case, the owner/custodian must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
- stay on paths.
- not foul Garden grounds.
- not sit on any benches or chairs.
- not demonstrate disruptive, agitated, or aggressive behaviour including but not limited to barking, whining, biting, growling, jumping, scratching, leash pulling, sniffing, or any harassment of other visitors, volunteers, students or staff.
- not harass, injure, damage, or kill any animal, plant or other vegetation in the Gardens.
- additionally, the owner/custodian must ensure the animal’s welfare at all times.
In the event of an assistance animal or its owner/custodian not complying with these guidelines, our staff will request that the owner/custodian correct the animal’s behaviour. If the owner does not take effective action to control the animal, our staff will request that the animal be removed from Garden grounds. In these cases, owners/custodians will be able to continue their visit, or visit on another date, without the animal.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh does not permit pets in any of our Gardens or in our buildings. An exception to this is Benmore, where pet dogs are permitted on leads.