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    An attack on any dog is frightening but for a guide dog owner it is worse

    NewsUK Dog NewsTuesday 28 February 2012
    As more canine carers are savaged

    Attacks on guide dogs by other dogs have risen alarmingly in the past year and now a leading charity is campaigning to halt them.

    Here blind former Cabinet minister David Blunkett explains why the issue is close to his heart.

    And three guide dog owners tell of terrifying encounters.
    AN investigation has revealed that attacks on guide dogs by out-of-control and dangerous dogs have more than doubled in the last year to SEVEN A MONTH.
    As a result of the probe by Guide Dogs For The Blind, its chief executive, Richard Leaman, is calling on the police to do more to investigate the problem as it is likely there are many more attacks which have not been reported.
    The charity also wants all dogs to be microchipped so it is easier to track down their owners.
    My heart goes out to those guide dog owners who have experienced unprovoked attacks on their much valued companion.
    This reflects the failure of other dog owners to train and control their dog and, regrettably, a growing occurrence of indifference to particular forms of disability.
    What is needed is a combination of basic humanity together with owners being heavily prosecuted for allowing animals to develop aggressive tendencies and letting them run free.
    Guide dogs are essential for the mobility, independence and dignity of blind men and women and a crucial symbol of equality. For any blind person to lose their dog would be a body blow in terms of living their life to the full.

    Bull breeds ... 33 per cent are responsible for attacks on guide dogs

    Bull breeds ... 33 per cent are responsible for attacks on guide dogs


    But in circumstances where the dog is severely injured there is the added trauma which any decent owner of a pet would also experience, and which would add dramatically to the hurt and distress.

    An attack on any pet dog is frightening and upsetting, but for a guide dog owner it is even worse. While dog owners with good vision can act to avoid a confrontation, if you are blind and have a guide dog you can't see to avoid potential confrontations with aggressive dogs in parks and other public spaces.
    An attack can lead to a vulnerable person being left stranded and frightened with an injured dog.
    If the guide dog needs treatment by a vet then its owner will be left without their lifeline for days or even weeks.
    And if the dog has to be withdrawn or retired from service then the impact on the owner is huge, as the process to find a replacement could take months.
    That's not to mention the financial impact withdrawing a guide dog has on a wonderful charity which relies entirely on public donations.

    Kirsten & Norman

    Upsetting ... Kirsten Barrett retired Norman after attack by two dogs

    Upsetting ... Kirsten Barrett retired Norman after attack by two dogs
    KIRSTEN BARRETT was walking her seven-year-old daughter to a school bus when her guide dog Norman was attacked last month.
    Kirsten, 41, said: "I was in a lane near my house and two dogs came running out of nowhere and launched themselves on Norman.
    "At first I assumed they would have an owner so I waited for someone to come and call them off. But it became clear that wasn't going to happen.
    "I tried to get between them and told my little girl, Tamsin, to carry on walking. I was very worried she might be knocked over or bitten, and as I couldn't see what was going on I wanted her to be as safe as possible.
    "I got bitten on the hand and the leg. Then a neighbour came out to help, beating the dogs off with a stick.
    "We managed to shove Norman inside another neighbour's house to protect him but he was bleeding quite badly and half of his ear had been torn off.
    "We got him to the vet, where he had to have emergency surgery. He was kept in overnight.
    "It was very upsetting as he's a part of our family and we'd worked together since 2004. You form a very close attachment to your guide dog and Norman was a lifeline for me.
    "As he was eight years old I decided to retire Norman after the attack, which was a huge blow. He now lives with friends away from the area, which is better for him.
    "The waiting list for a guide dog is up to 12 months, but I was very lucky to be paired with my new dog Honey quickly and now we're training together."
    The physiotherapist, from the Vale of Glamorgan, added: "The police believe the dogs that attacked me and Norman were abandoned. I feel all dogs should be microchipped so irresponsible owners can be traced."

    Jenny & Toby

    Devastated ... Jenny Ridout blames the owners of dogs who attack other canines

    Devastated ... Jenny Ridout blames the owners of dogs who attack other canines

    JENNY RIDOUT was devastated when her dog Toby was attacked in a park.

    The 64-year-old gran was putting his harness on when a dog ran at them and bit him last November.
    She said: "It took a huge chunk out of his right side. I was able to make out a red patch on Toby that turned out to be blood where a large flap of his skin was hanging down.
    "Luckily I was with a friend who managed to get us out of the park and to the vet. I was in a terrible state.
    "Toby was also quite jumpy after the attack but he's getting there now and he's been so brave. I'm too frightened to go back to that park though."
    Jenny, of Hayes, Middlesex, added: "I blame the owners of these dogs, They should be forced to go to dog training classes."

    David & Ania

    Terrifying ... David Evans's pup was left with deep puncture wounds after bus ordeal

    Terrifying ... David Evans's pup was left with deep puncture wounds after bus ordeal
    DAVID EVANS was on a bus when his guide dog Ania was attacked.
    The 63-year-old said: "Ania was sitting quietly under my seat when a man got on with a dog which went for her and dragged her into the aisle.
    "It was mayhem as Ania started screeching. This dog had her head in its jaws and they were locked on.
    "It took the owner and another three or four passengers to get it off. It was terrifying. A police car was behind the bus so they dealt with the man then took me to the vets."
    The attack last June in Colchester, Essex, left Ania with deep puncture wounds to her head.
    David added: "Ania is absolutely essential to me. It costs £50,000 in donations to train a guide dog so when one is retired or withdrawn because of an attack that's a lot of money for the charity to lose."


    Source: The Sun

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