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Commissioner Simmonds raises concerns over guide dog attacks

Guide Dogs launching a new project called My Guide with an event in Lynn Town Centre. Saint waits patiently.

Guide Dogs launching a new project called My Guide with an event in Lynn Town Centre. Saint waits patiently.

Police commissioner Adam Simmonds is to write to the government about concerns around the number of guide dogs that are attacked in public.

Northamptonshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner is to write to ministers to support a campaign for stronger legal sanctions against so-called “status dogs”, which experts say are responsible for the bulk of attacks on guide dogs.

Mr Simmonds has revealed he is asking the county’s chief constable to ensure attacks against guide dogs are recorded and, wherever possible, acted on by police officer.

He says he was “appalled and saddened” to learn about the extent of attacks on guide dogs by other dogs in public.

Jackie Elshaw, from the central Midlands team of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, told him that on average eight dogs a month are attacked, usually by so-called status dogs.

In almost half of all attacks the guide dog needed surgery.

Ms Elshaw told Mr Simmonds: “If I am on my own and my dog is attacked I have no redress in law and the owner of the dog that attacks will shoot off very quickly.

“Even an attack with minor injuries is enormously distressing and the guide dog remains wary.

“These dogs are trained to disregard other dogs so they can concentrate on helping the owner.”

Mr Simmonds is to write to ministers to support the association’s campaign for stronger legal sanctions.

It is lobbying the government so an attack on a guide dog is treated like an attack on an owner and classed as a criminal offence. It also wants tougher regulations on micro-chipping for dogs.

 

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