Apology after blind man and guide dog forced to walk through road resurfacing work

Ian Muir and his guide dog 'Tel' had their feet covered in hot tar. (Pic George McLuskie).
Ian Muir and his guide dog 'Tel' had their feet covered in hot tar. (Pic George McLuskie).

A blind man and his guide dog, whose feet were covered in hot tar after being forced to walk across road resurfacing works, has been given an unreserved apology by Fife Council.

Ian Muir, from Taransay Park in Glenrothes, said he had no alternative but to walk on the road which was being resurfaced because contractors had blocked the only pedestrian path from his house.

In all, Mr Muir said both he and four-year-old guide dog Tel were subjected to the same problem outside his home on three consecutive days, two of which resulted in both the dog and Mr Muir coming into contact with the resurfacing tar.

Mr Muir (72), who has been blind for 14 years and who has lived at the address for over 25 years, said the repeated ordeal had been deeply upsetting for both him and the dog.

“To happen once is bad enough, but to have access blocked by vehicles on three occasions, the last being after I had brought it to the attention of Fife Council and had reassurances from the contractors that it wouldn’t happen again, is beyond a joke,” said Mr Muir.

“If a route is blocked I will instruct the dog to ‘find a way’ and even though it is stressful for the dog, it will do whatever it can to find what it thinks is a safe route for me. The dog would not know that accessing the road was not safe.

“Believe it or not, I was actually asked to report any future problems by taking photographs.”

Mr Muir and his wife have twice had to clean the dogs paws and the council have now agreed to replace carpets.

Derek Crowe, engineering and waste services manager, said: “We fully apologise to Mr and Mrs Muir for the inconvenience this has caused. This clearly isn’t acceptable.

“We’ve spoken with the contractor, who will deal with any claims directly. We’ve been assured that they’ve been in touch with Mr and Mrs Muir to apologise for the upset and inconvenience caused.

“We’ll speak to the contractor again to remind them that they must provide safe alternative access to avoid this happening.”