ATTACKS on guide dogs by other dogs have more than doubled during the past year.
A new report from Guide Dogs found that an average of seven attacks a month are now being reported.
Bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and pit bull terriers are among the most frequent offenders, with around one in three of the dogs carrying out attacks from this bull breed group.
Linda Oliver’s guide dog, Zoe, was attacked at a busy summer event by a Staffordshire bull terrier.
Linda, from Stockton-on-Tees, said: “This dog just flew out of nowhere and started biting Zoe. The owner just stood there, watching. He didn’t do anything.
“I was hysterical. I was so shocked and so unable to do anything. Luckily the police were nearby and they escorted the dog and its owner from the park and took our details, but that was it.
“They should have done more. I want the owner to understand how the attack has impacted on my life. It has made a huge dent in our confidence, and I want him to pay the vet’s bill.”
Richard Leaman, Guide Dogs’ chief executive, said: “We recognise that police forces are under pressure, but these attacks are antisocial and have a devastating effect on vulnerable people.
“We want police to recognise the enormous impact that these attacks have on people’s ability to live independently and respond accordingly.”
One guide dog owner reported wanting to move house after his dog was attacked, and others said they were too frightened to go out.
In 70% of attacks guide dogs needed treatment and many also often become nervous and lose their confidence.
In some cases, guide dogs were so traumatised by their experience that they had to be withdrawn from service.
Mr Leaman added: “Locally, we want police forces to take these attacks seriously and send a clear message that they are unacceptable.
“We are happy to work with police forces to find a solution. Nationally, we think it’s time that all dogs were microchipped so it’s easy to identify the owners of dangerous dogs.”