Page last updated at 18:27 GMT, Wednesday, 15 April 2009 19:27 UK

Turned down by hearing charity

Matthew Gennery, who is profoundly deaf, has been rejected by the charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People because he has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair.


REPORTER: Matthew Gennery has been profoundly deaf since birth. Twenty-three years ago he developed multiple sclerosis and now uses a wheelchair. He thought he'd be a perfect candidate for a specially trained hearing dog.

MATTHEW GENNERY: It could alert me to the fire alarm, if I drop anything, the remote control, the dog could pick it up for me. I can't bend down all the time to pick things up so it could do things like that. There are so many things it could do for me.

REPORTER: At first the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity agreed but then officials changed their mind. The Hearing Dogs charity today released a statement explaining how their dogs work. They say that they alert by touching with a paw and then leading to the sound. They say though that the deaf person has to be able to respond by going with them to the source of the sound. But they add that they're worried Matthew's condition might make this impossible and this could lead to the dog losing confidence.

JULIE GENNERY: An assistance dog would be absolutely brilliant for him. I never thought in a million years they would refuse his application. We were both absolutely shocked to the core.

REPORTER: There was another shock when Canine Partners, a different charity, also refused him a dog, citing his deafness.

MATTHEW GENNERY: I was really looking forward to getting the dog and now that these barriers have been put up I feel discriminated against.

REPORTER: The family hope that by speaking out they'll be able to find someone willing to help them.

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