In the same week that tougher sentences have been announced for the owners of dangerous dogs I’m supporting the charity Guide Dogs’ in their bid to stop attacks on guide dogs by other dogs.
Recent statistics show attacks on guide dogs by other dogs are at an all-time high and now running at an average of eight a month.
An attack on any dog is frightening, but for a guide dog and its owner it’s much worse. With more than eight reported attacks on guide dogs a month, the trauma caused by these unprovoked attacks could leave a blind or partially sighted person a virtual prisoner in their own home.
Guide dog owner Marie Howarth, 29, from Shaw, who has been blind since the age of six, told me that is her dog Bailey was attacked and wasn’t able to work she’d be lost. Marie is fortunate, however, as this hasn’t happened to her her dog. But she finds it a worry that it is happening to so many guide dogs each week.
Maried tells me that she would like the Government listen and to ensure that Guide Dogs are better protected from these attacks.
The government is currently consulting about compulsory microchipping but has said its preferred option is to microchip puppies only. Under this plan, it would take 10 to 15 years before all dogs are microchipped. Guide Dogs believes it would take too long to have an impact and wants to see the compulsory microchipping of all dogs within two years.
Guide Dogs sees the compulsory microchipping of all dogs as a vital first step towards reducing the number of attacks, but believes the Government should go further.
David Cowdrey, Guide Dogs’ Campaigns Manager, welcomes my support for their campaign, and ultimately theywant the law changed so an attack on an assistance dog is treated as seriously as an attack on a person.