Town cen­tre fear af­ter attack on guide dog

Blind woman tells how ca­nine bit her Labrador

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

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.”

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