Guide Dogs is calling on all dog owners to lend their support in the wake of data which shows that on average there are 12 attacks on guide dogs every month which is very alarming. In nearly 60 per of those attacks, the dog which attacked was not on a leash. Besides inflicting emotional and physical trauma on both the guide dog and its owner, such attacks have cost the charity more than £1.3 million since 2010. As a result, Guide Dogs has launched a campaign it calls Take the Lead.
Making the public aware of its responsibilities
The campaign has the aim of making the general public aware of their responsibilities when it comes to their pet dogs and put their dogs on a leash whenever they come across a working guide dog. Guide Dogs researchers say just this simple move is enough to prevent the vast majority of attacks in the future. This is not the first time Guide Dogs has campaigned on this issue. In 2014 tougher laws were introduced which could put dog owners whose dog attacked a working guide dog in jail for up to three years.
Tough laws are not enough
Despite those laws, Guide Dogs believes there is still much more to be done in order to prevent such attacks and as a result is calling on assistance from the dog owning general public. A spokesperson for the charity says guide dogs change the lives of people who are visually impaired and allow their owners to live their lives to the fullest. Attacks on guide dogs destroy their confidence which could result in their owners losing their freedom and independence yet again. Therefore, it is important for people to put their dog on a leash whenever they see a guide dog working because it allows them to have greater control of the situation.
Attacks affect both owners and dogs
Attacks on guide dogs tend to have long- lasting affects both on the dog and owner. One guide dog was attacked in London in June 2016 and the owner and dog continue to feel the effects to this day. The guide dog was badly hurt after another dog sunk its teeth into her back says the owner, and whilst the physical scars have healed she continues to show anxiety. The owner says he feels anguish but there is some hope because every day she continues to improve. Nevertheless, had the dog that attacked been on a leash, the who situation could have been avoided.