Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 24°C

min temp: 14°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.

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.”

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

Suffolk and Norfolk police assistant chief constable Sarah Hamlin.

The assistant chief constable for Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies has announced her retirement in a series of Twitter posts which appear to criticise the police forces.

Tim Passmore

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner has said society needs to help a troubled young woman who continually threatens to jump off a bridge from the A14.

Ipswich Crown Court

A lorry driver who drove erratically through Woodbridge at night hitting cars, before trying to prevent police passing him on the A12 has admitted dangerous driving.

Stowmarket chicken shed fire

A chicken shed blaze in Stowmarket has been tackled by firefighters.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

Two young men terrified a teenage girl after donning balaclavas and arming themselves with a hammer and rounders bat when taking the law into their own hands.

A team from Hadleigh firm Wincer Kievenaar Architects has raised more than £8,500 for Action Medical Research after riding from London to Paris.

A team from Hadleigh firm Wincer Kievenaar Architects has raised more than £8,500 for Action Medical Research after cycling from London to Paris.

Giffords Hall Vineyard feature. Including the use of drone technology to measure crop yield. Pictured is owner Linda Howard.

Vineyard owners in Suffolk and Essex say their industry has grown so quickly over recent years that the region may soon follow famous French appellations in seeking protected status for its wines.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24