Attack on guide dog sparks plea for more care

132304a'Zane the Guide Dog with owner Denise Wilcox and Ann Nowacki of Guide Dogs for the Blind.Zane was attacked by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier 'in Huntriss Row but luckily was saved from serious injury by his harness.'Picture by Neil Silk'03/06/13
132304a'Zane the Guide Dog with owner Denise Wilcox and Ann Nowacki of Guide Dogs for the Blind.Zane was attacked by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier 'in Huntriss Row but luckily was saved from serious injury by his harness.'Picture by Neil Silk'03/06/13
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A Scarborough woman has made a heartfelt plea for people to keep their dogs under control after her guide dog was attacked.

Denise Wilcox, of Lisvane Avenue, was in Huntriss Row with her dog Zane on Bank Holiday Monday when a black Staffordshire Bull Terrier grabbed hold of his harness.

The 46 year old, who is registered blind, was outside McDonalds with her friend and Guide Dog branch organiser Ann Nowacki when the incident happened.

Denise explained: “As we turned to go into McDonalds, the dog just came from the side and got hold of Zane.

“He came right for us. He got hold of the harness on his chest. The Staffy was on a lead but it was trailing - there was no-one holding it.”

Ann added: “The dog had its lips up and teeth showing, and it was growling. Zane barked, but he’s trained not to run away.”

Denise called 999 for help but was told to ring the non-emergency number 101. In the meantime, the dog’s owners had gone, so Ann went to look for help and found a plain-clothed police officer who came to their assistance.

The incident left both Denise and Zane shaken, but thankfully no-one was hurt.

Denise said: “Zane was panicking - he didn’t understand what was happening. For a couple of days afterwards he wasn’t himself, but he has improved. But he still doesn’t like going past Huntriss Row.”

Ann explained that the are seven attacks on Guide Dogs every month somewhere in the UK and that some are not able to work again.

Guide Dogs are a precious resource, which cost £50,000 each to train and look after throughout their working life.

She said: “So much work goes into providing a Guide Dog and they can give somebody their life back. One irresponsible dog owner can take all that away in seconds.”

Both Ann and Denise are now making a plea for all dog owners to keep their pets under control and to spare a thought for those who are blind or partially sighted when they go out.