New campaign launched to prevent attacks on assistance dogs in Ipswich
- Credit: Archant
A campaign to protect assistance dogs on the streets of Ipswich has been launched – following a series of nasty attacks on guide dogs in the town.
Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) is leading the ‘Take the Lead’ campaign to encourage responsible dog ownership, in an effort to prevent further clashes.
In March, two attacks on guide dogs were reported locally, leaving both dogs injured and the owners extremely upset.
One of the victims, Carolyn Allum, from Claydon, said she was “passionate about the campaign” – urging owners of other dogs to keep their pets under control at all times.
Ms Allum was left heartbroken when her guide dog, Ally, was forced to retire early after being attacked no fewer than six times.
The young black Labrador had become the target of badly behaved dogs – and after one particularly brutal clash, she suffered a ripped ear and puncture wounds to her mouth.
Ms Allum said: “It is about raising awareness and trying to find a solution. In the long term, it is about changing people’s attitudes to guide dogs – making sure people realise the implications [of attacks]. Having the council involved as well, you are doubling your power.”
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Ms Allum added that her independence took a huge hit after losing Ally – and she now has to rely on a cane while she waits to be assigned a new guide dog.
“Because I have actually lost my guide dog, that is a massive impact on my independence and mobility,” she said. “With Ally I used to go into town because I enjoyed it – she knew exactly where to take me. With a cane I use it to go from A to B. It is a big step backwards.”
The campaign has the support of Guide Dogs UK, the Police, Ipswich Central and Ipswich MP Sandy Martin.
Councillor Sophie Meudec, communities portfolio-holder for IBC, said: “We are launching ‘Take the Lead’ in a bid to prevent these terrible and unnecessary incidents that can have a serious impact on both dog and owner. It is not only the attacks themselves, which are bad enough, but it is also the waste of resources. It costs a lot of money to train a guide dog, which are sometimes the only lifeline a person has.
“Attacks on that lifeline can leave them isolated and unable to leave their home. This is why we want to prevent attacks and encourage other dog owners to be responsible and keep their pets under control.”
Organisers are now looking for an event partner to help get the message across.
Alice Firbank from IBC’s communities team, said: “Ideally, we would like to hear from a pet shop business or a veterinary company that can assist with micro-chipping or ‘goodie bags’ at the launch. There are many opportunities to get our message across in partnership with a local firm or organisation. Anyone who wants to join us can contact me on 01473 432224 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”