Today, I complained that a Guide Dog was not recalled by the owner’s seeing carer. I am disappointed that when I said the Furlong dog was an animal cruelty dog, fearful of other dogs and prone to FIGHT, she proclaimed “That’s YOUR problem”. But had she recalled her dog, the problem would not exist. The problem is not the loose, bouncy, frightening Alsatian running up to you, the problem is that it’s frightening to other people, and the owner is without any consideration to anyone else.
The dog might be a pussy cat – but who knows that? It is scary to children, old people and other dogs.
I disapprove of all dogs in public places who are not on leads. But a government petition for it – there have been several – gets only about eighty votes! BIG DEAL!
After yesterday’s incident, the next group of people on the canal path had about five dogs all loose around them. One bounded over to us and a small squabble ensued – our dog’s fault. We cannot walk there stresslessly any more. We will have to keep away – not because of other loose dogs, but because of the one guide dog we might encounter.
We cannot walk there stresslessly any more. Because this raises the problem.
If a dog runs over to me and frightens me, the law is on my side.
If my dog attacks a guide dog the law is severely against me.
So the question is, how does the law protect ME when YOUR guide dog is “out of control”?
Here is the law (in the UK)
It’s against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control anywhere, such as:
- in a public place
- in a private place, eg a neighbour’s house or garden
- in the owner’s home
The law applies to all dogs.
Out of control
Your dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:
- injures someone
- makes someone worried that it might injure them
AND more frighteningly – If you allow your dog to injure an assistance dog (eg a guide dog) you can be sent to prison for up to 3 years or fined (or both). Last updated: 25 October 2016
What does the new law mean?
It means that if a dog attacks an assistance dog then its owner will have committed an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act. If the dog injures the assistance dog then its owner will be liable for prosecution and face a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
What do I do if my guide dog is attacked from now on?
Report it to the police and to your local guide dogs mobility team. Your mobility team will be able to help you through the whole process from reporting it to the police, seeking veterinary treatment if necessary and pressing charges.
What is or isn’t an attack?
The law does not use the work ‘attack’ but says that an offence has been committed by the dog owner or the person in charge of a dog, if the dog is “dangerously out of control”.
The definition of “dangerously out of control” is that “there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will injure any person or assistance dog, whether or not it actually does so”. So the law has been broken even if there is no physical injury to the person or assistance dog, and this should still be reported to the police.
If a person or an assistance dog does get injured by the dog while it is out of control, then an aggravated offence has been committed. This is the more serious form of the offence and it carries stricter penalties.
So, unfairly as it seems “It’s OUR problem” indeed.