Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Guide Dogs’ campaign against dog attacks

Last Wednesday I went to support the issue of guide dogs being attacked by other dogs.

Theer is a short film at the event, which told the stories of three guide dog owners whose dogs had been attacked. The film is available online at the following link: http://youtu.be/ZeIPsv4NAg8

Guide Dogs’ latest research has revealed that on average, eight guide dogs are attacked every month. The majority of these attacks have occurred when the guide dog was in harness and working.

Aside from being a terrifying experience that can leave deep psychological issues for the owner, guide dog owners are left without their mobility aid for the dog’s period of recovery after an attack and can sometimes lead to the retirement of their guide dog that is worth £50,000.

Guide Dogs has welcomed the Government’s plans to introduce compulsory microchipping in England, but believes that their preferred option of only microchipping puppies would take too long and would like to see all dogs chipped within two years.

Microchipping all dogs will have a number of benefits including: reducing the number of abandoned and stray dogs; helping owners to be swiftly reunited with lost dogs; and reducing kennelling costs for stray dogs. It would also provide a concrete link between a dog and its owner, allowing for sanctions to be taken against an owner whose dog is dangerously out of control.

Microchipping is an important first step in reducing these incidences, but more must be done to tackle the underlying issues behind irresponsible dog ownership.

At present, an attack on a guide dog in England is not seen as an offence and action is rarely taken. Guide Dogs would like it to be seen in the same manner as an attack on a person.

Under section 10 (3) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 2010, a dog can be regarded as dangerously out of control “on any occasion on which there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will injure a person.” We are encouraging our guide dog owners and the police to make use of this provision.