I originally thought that we would be able to attend the hearing on the 10th. Due to several factors, this will not be possible. None the less, I would like to share some comments on the issues that I planned to address.
My husband, Gary Metzler is blind and uses a guide dog as his mobility assistant. Any ship that leaves from an American port is required to allow the dog to travel with him. We feel that there needs to be guidelines for areas where the animals can relieve themselves on board.
We are proposing that areas be provided with the following guidelines.
1. The area should be large enough to "walk" a dog. A dog has a walking bowel movement and needs to be walked.
2. The area should be well ventilated.
3. The area should be in an area protected from the elements.
4. The area should be in an accessible area of the vessel - both physically accessible and in public access.
5. The area should be accessible to flushing or cleaning.
We have had experiences where the "litter box" has been in a locked closet, on an open deck where passersby use it for litter disposal, in an enclosed area which had an ammonia smell, in a crew area where passengers were questioned about being there, the filling has been material that the animal didn't use, etc.
There should be some sort of permanent facility or area set aside for this use exclusively.
Other issues on construction that would assist a visually impaired traveler are as folows:
1. Adequate Braille signage properly displayed.
2. Auditory signals in elevators to indicate direction of travel.
3. Braille signage in the stairwells to indicate what deck and the location.
Thank you for allowing me to share my opinions. We would be interested in attending any future hearings and value the opportunity to offer our comments.
OUTTA SIGHT TRAVEL, Inc.
Port St. Lucie, Florida 34983