Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 16°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Essex: Guide dogs attacked in county as Clacton MP Douglas Carswell and charities support new educational campaign

17:43 22 August 2014

Nationally, 10 guide dogs are attacked every month.

Nationally, 10 guide dogs are attacked every month.

Archant

An Essex MP has backed a new campaign warning of the threats dangerous dogs pose when not muzzled or under control after a number of guide dogs were attacked in the county.

shares

A Clacton wheelchair user has spoken of his “shock” after his guide dog was attacked by an unmuzzled dog, insisting it was just one of many incidents which have left vulnerable people scared of going out for a walk in some areas of the town.

Clacton MP Douglas Carswell was joined by a guide dog charity in condemning the attack – and vowed to raise the issue in Parliament to help gain support for a new initiative educating owners of dangerous dogs of the responsibilities they have.

Sue Rowen, community engagement officer at Guide Dogs for the Blind, told how another guide dog in Clacton was attacked in May by two dogs, “neither of which was properly controlled by their handler”.

The guide dogs in both incidents escaped serious injuries, but a guide dog in Basildon required veterinary treatment after a similar attack this year.

New Government legislation announced in May ruled that irresponsible dog owners who allow their dogs to attack people or guide dogs will face tougher prison sentences.

Anyone convicted following a fatal dog attack now faces a 14-year jail term, up from two years.

And for the first time, the Dangerous Dogs Act includes a specific offence to protect assistance dogs from attacks. The maximum prison sentence is three years if a guide dog is attacked.

Mr Carswell said: “There is absolutely no excuse for someone’s dog attacking a guide dog. If you own a dog you need to take responsibility, and if you cannot control it then put a muzzle on it.

“Guide dogs are absolutely essential – they allow people who have very restricted ability to enjoy much more independent lives.

“If the guide dogs want to launch a campaign then I would be happy to head it in Parliament. I would hope to get broad support for an organisation which provides great help to vulnerable people.”

Nationally, 10 guide dogs are attacked every month.

Wheelchair-bound Barry O’Connell, of Pier Avenue, Clacton, described the moment Guy, his seven-year-old flat-coated retriever which has been his guide dog for five years, was attacked.

“We had just got round the corner when a dog shot at Guy like a guided missile,” he said.

“I was lucky I was able to spin my chair round and put the dog on my blind side to protect him. It was shocking. The man rushed in and pulled his dog away.

“Dangerous dogs have got to be controlled. This is happening in our streets and at the seaside. People have got to understand guide dogs are our eyes, limbs and arms. They need to be protected.”

Mrs Rowen said charities including the Guide Dogs for the Blind are now joining forces with police forces and local authorities to help run educational workshops designed to encourage pet owners to improve their safety measures.

She said: “Dog attacks have a devastating impact on the partnership between the guide dog and its owner. It can lead to it breaking down.

“It takes a brave person to trust a dog and these attacks erode their confidence.”

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

A double lightining strike has hit and destroyed a house. Darren Hobson surveys the damage. Picture: Stephen Huntley.

A hero father-of-six who led his family to safety following a lightning strike to his home has praised his neighbours’ support.

Stuart Cullen, from the Lowestoft area, who died in the terrorist attack in Tunisia.

The family of a man who died in the Tunisian massacre have paid tribute to their “third musketeer”.

New Street, Woodbridge

Mrs Poppy died after a collision in New Street, Woodbridge, on Wednesday.

Libby Brown headteacher at Kyson Primary, Woodbridge.

A board of school governors has launched a fierce attack on Suffolk County Council after their headteacher had to stop work for seven weeks.

BBC Radio Suffolk's Mark Murphy with one of the Scamnesty bids

A Suffolk Trading Standards Scamnesty campaign is using special bins across the county in a bid to snare unscrupulous conmen.

Cedar House, Pytches Road, Melton - set to have ten new homes in its grounds.

Developers who have bought a prime site on the edge of Woodbridge from the district council expect to submit proposals to create new homes next month.

Beach patrol rescue spaniels from Clacton beach.
Owner and her dogs.

A beach patrol team at Clacton swung into action to rescue two dogs yesterday evening.

Culford Girls under 18 Hockey Team January 1990

Were you a member of the Culford girls under 18 hockey team in January 1990. Were you in the squad photographed here?

Sybil Andrews at work in her studio, circa 1980 - Photo from the book

Suffolk artists are often hidden from history, but a campaigner is hoping to rectify that.

Murrayfield Primary School.

The headteacher of an Ipswich primary school has resigned just weeks after parents criticised a decision to axe after-school clubs and the end of term disco.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages