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Dog on Dog Attacks

by Neil Ewart FBIPDT

As an experienced dog handler, Neil shares his thoughts on the incidents of dog attacks on service dogs and gives all dog owners some sound advice on how to avoid them.


Guide Dogs and, indeed, many other Assistance Dog groups are becoming increasingly concerned about the number of attacks on working dogs .

This is nothing new but it is now the regularity of the incidents which has become a real worry.  During my years involved in Guide Dog training I investigated many reported attacks on our dogs.  Most of these involved incidents where the perpetrator had scampered

It would invariably be impossible to identify them.. Sometimes we were lucky enough to get a name  but I can not remember a case ever leading to a prosecution.

One that always springs to mind involved a guide dog owner who went for a drink in a Staffordshire pub.  While the dog was lying under a table one of Staffords finest entered with a ‘’terrier type’’ dog , let it off the lead, and deliberately set it on to the guide dog.   The police were very sympathetic.  However, when I gave them a description they said it fitted dozens of  individuals (and their dogs) in that area.

Surprisingly, many attacks take place with the offending dog on the lead!  

What should any dog handler do?

If you see a dog you suspect to dodgy then I would  suggest you try to avoid contact by crossing over over the road.  However, this is tricky if you happen to be blind or in a wheelchair!  Unlike sighted  owners someone with total, or partial vision can find it difficult to anticipate potential trouble ahead of them.
Avoid free running in certain areas where undesirable dogs (and owners) are known to congregate .
I advised anyone with a guide dog working while, hopefully, ignoring other dogs.  This can reduce the chances of encouraging unwanted attention.

I think the police in most areas want to take action but their hands are often tied.  In my opinion, if you have a dog on a lead (or guide harness) any attack on that dog should be classed as being an assault on the owner. 

Guide Dogs, like many others, are pushing for mandatory micro chipping . My personal view is I fail to see how this will prevent attacks.  (I am not against micro chipping but for other reasons)

Of the attacks on our dogs  which I dealt with what were some of the common factors?

100% were in urban/town centre conditions- No surprise there!

Most guilty persons cleared off double quick.
About 80% of the dogs were off the lead.
None  had a muzzle

And,  most dispiriting of all-  those persons who were identified  had certainly one thing in common….They didn’t give a damned!!!

So, attacks are on the increase.  Is it because there are more dodgy dogs about or more moronic handlers??/

I leave the answer to you!!!

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