Blind and visually impaired people will be getting greater support from police if their guide dogs are attacked.
New guidelines have been agreed by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) following changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act in 2014.
The Service Level Agreement (SLA) recognises the impact that an attack on an assistance dog by another dog has on its owner’s life and will ensure harsher punishments.
When a guide dog owner reports an attack on their dog, police forces in England and Wales have committed to taking steps such as assigning a named officer to their case and recording the victim as vulnerable, so investigations are tailored around their needs. The full impact of the attack on their guide dog will also be taken into account, including how it affects their daily life.
Chief Superintendent Dan Vajzovic said: “Attacks on guide dogs can be devastating for both the owner and guide dog.
“In our commitment to protect the most vulnerable in our community, we welcome these guidelines.”
On average, ten guide dogs are attacked by other dogs every month in the UK, often with bad consequences for the animal and its owner. If the guide dog cannot work, their owner is left unable to get around on their own, robbing them of their independence.