Huppert welcomes laws to protect guide dogs
MP Julian Huppert has welcomed new legislation to protect guide dogs from savage attacks by dangerous dogs.
The Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, which had its Second Reading in Parliament yesterday (Monday, June 10), includes measures to allow attacks on guide dogs to be treated more seriously.
Julian told Parliament yesterday: “I want to emphasise how good it is that we are making progress, particularly on the serious issue of guide dogs. There were about 240 dog attacks on guide dogs between March 2011 to February 2013, which is about 10 a month.
“Last year, I met some of my visually impaired constituents and found out what it was like to have a guide dog: I was blindfolded and had to follow a dog around Cambridge. I spoke to my constituents about some of their cases. The big problem is that guide dogs are trained not to fight back or defend themselves; they are trained not to run away, but to get their owner away safely.”
He added that his constituents had told him about brutal cases where dogs had been savaged but had still tried to lead their owners away to safety.
“Such attacks were also devastating for the owner, because it takes a long time to get used to a dog and they cannot simply be replaced; the emotional cost is huge, too,” he added. “Five of the dogs attacked had to be withdrawn, costing the Guide Dogs charity £170,000—money which it simply does not have.”
Julian said later: “I am pleased this legislation addresses the issue of attacks on guide dogs and allows those attacks to be considered in the same way as attacks against a person; this is a big step forward. This will make a big difference.
“Micro-chipping all dogs will also allow the animals responsible to be traced back to their owners so that legal action can be taken. Hopefully, this will lead not only to a reduction in injuries to guide dogs but also reduce the terrifying attacks similar to those which have killed and injured children.”