Hotels, restaurants and other public facilities are required by a new law to let disabled people bring their helper dog along, but apparently few people know about it.

The helper dog law for the disabled went into full force Wednesday. However, a poll by the public relations firm Dentsu Inc. shows it is not well known among the public and some people raised concerns over allowing helper dogs in restaurants.

Nearly 70 percent of 1,000 respondents to the Internet poll said they know nothing about the law, while 25 percent said they have heard the title of the law.

The law, which partially took effect Oct. 1, 2002, opens the way for the government to subsidize the training of helper dogs for people with impaired sight and other disabilities and allows disabled people to keep helper dogs in public housing. On Wednesday, the law made it obligatory for hotels, eateries, supermarkets and other public facilities to allow helper dogs on their premises.

Ninety-two percent of the people polled said legislation is needed to back the public acceptance of helper dogs and more than 90 percent said they don’t mind having helper dogs around in public and transportation facilities.

Public resistance was substantially higher toward helper dogs in restaurants, with 32 percent of the respondents saying they were worried about or opposed having them in eateries. The top reasons cited were dog hair and odor.

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