Town centre fear after attack on guide dog
Blind woman tells how canine bit her Labrador
A BLIND woman has been left fearful of venturing into Uxbridge town centre after her guide dog was attacked by another dog that had been let off its lead.
Jenny Ridout, 67, was outside Vision Express Opticians, in High Street, when her RetrieverLabrador cross, Toby, was bitten on the neck on Thursday March 26.
She said: “He went for his throat. He had hold of Toby’s big jowls. I got my hand there and got him off, but it could have been a lot worse.”
She added: “I’d like to thank the people that came to my rescue, to see if I needed any help.”
The grandmother-of-two says she is now scared to travel into Uxbridge or Hayes for fear of coming across the same dog.
But retired nursery nurse Mrs Ridout, who is registered blind but has limited sight, said she was mostly concerned for any guide dog users with no vision at all.
She said: “If it was a totally blind person they wouldn’t have seen.
“They are going to think the dog’s playing or something and they might trip over the leads or there could just be nasty accidents and the dogs might not work again.”
In 2013, Toby suffered a much worse attack when mauled by an unleashed Staffordshire Bull Terrier near the Greenway, in Yeading, leaving him needing 30 stitches.
In response, Mrs Ridout, from Hayes, went to the Houses of Parliament to campaign for new laws treating any guide dog attacks by another dog as an aggravated offence. It was passed in March 2014.
Dave Kent, community engagement officer for the charity Guide Dogs’ London mobility team, said: “An attack on any dog by another dog is distressing enough, but imagine what that would be like if you couldn’t see what was happening and it was your guide dog.
“When this has happened, guide dog owners are left feeling terrified and powerless to intervene. They are utterly defenceless and unable to help their precious guides.”
He added: “Often these dogs will never work again because they are so traumatised by what happened.The financial cost for the lifetime of a guide dog is around £51,000, but for the human cost it’s incalculable.”
For more information, visit www.guidedogs.org.uk