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New law protects guide dog owners

13 May 2014

Dog owners face up to three years in prison if an assistance dog is attacked

Owners whose dogs attack assistance dogs could face up to three years in prison from today. Guide Dogs has been campaigning for this change and welcomes the new tougher sentences.

James White, Campaigns Manager, Guide Dogs said:

"Attacks on guide dogs are extremely distressing for their owners. Not only is the attack itself traumatic but if the dog has to be withdrawn from the service then the guide dog owner may have trouble leaving home on their own.

We hope the new tougher sentences for owners whose dogs attack guide dogs will act as a strong deterrent. With an average of 10 guide dogs currently being attacked every month, we are now looking to the police to fully use their new powers."

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Guide dog owner Jemma Brown's dog Gus was attacked on many occasions. He was eventually withdrawn from service when the stress of the attacks meant he struggled to work properly.

Commenting Jemma said: "The trauma of a dog attack doesn't end with the attack itself. It can leave its mark both physically and psychologically. Unfortunately, this law will not stop attacks on guide dogs overnight, but it will serve as a deterrent and make it easier to take action against dog owners who dogs attack guide dogs."

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act, which brings about changes to the Dangerous Dog Act come into force on Tuesday 13 May.

For more information or interviews please contact the Guide Dogs press officer:

Liz Marshall, 0118 983 8173 or Liz.Marshall@guidedogs.org.uk
Fiona MacAulay, 0118 983 8156 or Fiona.MacAulay@guidedogs.org.uk


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