The public is being urged to report the owners of dogs that attack guide dogs to Lincolnshire Police.
The call follows the creation of a new offence, under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, of allowing a dog to attack an assistance dog. This offence attracts a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison.
When a guide dog owner reports an attack against their guide dogs, police have committed to assigning a named officer to their case and recording the victim as vulnerable enabling investigations to be tailored around their needs. The full impact of the attack on their guide dog will also be taken into account.
On average, 10 guide dogs are attacked by other dogs every month in the UK, often with devastating consequences for the animal and its owner. If their guide dog cannot work, the owner is left unable to get around on their own, robbing them of their independence. In several cases guide dogs have had to be retired early, which is extremely distressing for both dog and owner and wastes Guide Dogs donors’ money.
Chief executive of Guide Dogs, Richard Leaman, said: “When a guide or assistance dog is attacked, the consequences for its owner are devastating. Our guide dog owners rely on their guide dogs to get around and if a dog can’t work, their owner can be left housebound. But once the physical wounds have healed, a dog attack can also have a dramatic effect on both a guide dog and its owner’s confidence.”
Anyone witnessing an attack on a guide dog should call the police on 101.