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Dog attacks on guide dogs on the rise

Attacks on guide dogs by out-of-control dogs are increasing, according to a new report.

A total of 240 dog attacks on guide dogs were reported between March 2011 and February 2013, leading to five guide dogs being withdrawn from service during this period - costing the charity £170,000.

The proposed Anti-Social behaviour, crime and policing bill would make an attack on a guide dog an aggravated offence.

A total of 240 dog attacks on guide dogs were reported between March 2011 and February 2013 Credit: Lukas Coch/Press Association Images

Under the proposal due to be debated by MPs, it would also be an offence for a dog to be dangerously out of control when there is reasonable concern that it will injure an assistance dog such as a guide dog.

Guide Dogs chief executive Richard Leaman believes a change in the law cannot come quick enough for owners who have to deal with the "devastating consequences" of attacks.

"When a guide dog is attacked, someone with sight loss can completely lose their means of getting out and about independently.

"The impact on their life is huge and we are calling on the Government to do everything in its power to promote responsible dog ownership, deter these attacks, and ensure this deeply worrying trend does not continue."

City centres 'no go' areas for blind and partially sited

Almost half of drivers admit they park on the pavement without thinking about the danger to those people who are blind.

According to a YouGov Poll, almost a third of drivers do not see parking on the pavement as dangerous driving, and two thirds believe that parking on double yellow lines is much worse.

UK charity Guide Dogs believe pavement parking to be a hazard for blind and partially sited people Credit: Jane Mingay/PA

UK charity Guide Dogs say because of this, some towns and city centres are becoming 'no go' areas, for the blind and partially sited people.

The charity wants to see councils in England use their powers to ban pavement parking and make the streets safer for everyone.

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Defra: 'We need to target dog owners'

We have already launched a consultation on measures to tackle dangerous dogs and believe that to solve this problem we need to target their owners.

Compulsory micro-chipping to help police and local authorities deal with problem dogs is one measure we are consulting on and in future it will be a criminal offence not to keep your dog under control on any private property.

Once our consultation closes on June 15, we'll then carefully consider the responses before making a final announcement.

– A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman

'Dog attack leaves physical and psychological scars'

An attack on any dog is frightening, but for a guide dog owner it is much worse.

As well as physical injuries, each dog attack leaves a deep psychological scar for both the owner and the guide dog.

In the worst cases guide dogs have to be retired early; in others they are left unable to work for a significant amount of time.

– David Cowdrey, Campaign manager for The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

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