New campaign to stop attacks on guide dogs supported by Ipswich Central

29th May 2018

A campaign to prevent attacks on assistance dogs in Ipswich is looking for an event partner to help get the message across.

Nationally, Guide Dogs UK say there are around 12 attacks on guide dogs reported every month and not only is it extremely distressing for their owners it can mean the dog can no longer work, leaving people isolated and without a mobility aid to get them out and about.

Ipswich Borough Council has launched “Take the Lead” campaign to encourage responsible dog ownership to prevent attacks. It has the support of Guide Dogs UK, the Police, Ipswich Central and Ipswich MP Sandy Martin.

Councillor Sophie Meudec is communities portfolio-holder. She 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.”

In March, two attacks on guide dogs were reported locally, leaving both dogs injured and the owners extremely upset. One said: “It’s not just an attack on your dog; it’s an attack on your independence.”

Another owner faced heartbreak as her guide dog was forced to retire after being attacked no fewer than six times. Carolyn Allum, of Claydon, near Ipswich, is urging owners of other dogs to keep them under control at all times and is backing the new campaign.

The current amended Dangerous Dogs legislation states that “an attack on an assistance dog is classed as an attack on the person” and is therefore now a criminal offence. Dogs which attack, whether causing harm or not, are classed as being “dangerously out of control”.