a SAVAGE attack by an out-of-control dog which left a retired guide dog with a 12-inch scar has sparked a call for a change in the law.
Jo Cottam was forced to use all her strength to pull a dog off her partially-sighted mum’s faithful companion, Greg, as they walked along a Doncaster street.
She is now backing a campaign by charity Guide Dogs for the Blind to allow the authorities to punish an attack on a guide dog under the same guidelines as an attack on a human. Restaurant supervisor Jo, 43, was out walking with two dogs and her mum, 68-year-old Eileen Thompson, as well as her mum’s partially-sighted partner Kelvin, 49, along Surrey Street when the dog - believed to be an American bulldog - ran out and plunged his teeth into 12-year-old Greg’s side.
She said: “I was screaming and shouting but no-one came to help. I was absolutely appalled. The dog came back and tried to attack my mum’s current seeing dog, Dexter. My mum was sobbing and Greg was really traumatised.
“The dog just came running out of no-where. I hate to think what would have happened to my mum if I wasn’t there with her.”
Jo, of Dickson Crescent in Balby, added: “Greg is just like a member of the family. Everyone who meets him absolutely loves him and he is an absolute gentleman. Though they did later take more action, I was shocked when I first phoned the police and they said there was nothing they could do about it as ‘that’s just what dogs do’.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said that officers did speak to the owners whose dog was believed to have carried out the attack, which happened on October 11.
He also confirmed that while criminal proceedings could not be brought over the matter, officers were planning to issue the suspected owners with a court summons in which a judge could decide to have the dog destroyed.
Kirstie Bower, mobility team manager for Guide Dogs in South Yorkshire, said: “Ultimately we want the law changed to enable the authorities to treat an attack on a guide dog and other assistance dogs like an attack on a person, in recognition of the full impact of these attacks.”
The Free Press reported earlier this year on Angela Davies, of Chappell Street in Bentley, who was horrified when her guide dog, Vance, was attacked three times in two years. Nationally, eight guide dogs are attacked by other dogs each month.
RSPCA North spokeswoman Leanne Plumtree added: “A comprehensive approach is needed to tackle irresponsible dog ownership that prevents serious incidents from occurring rather than waiting for them to happen before action can be taken.”
A Doncaster Council spokesman also confirmed they had received a report about the attack, adding that dog owners do have a responsibility to keep their pets under control and can be removed by a dog warden if they are allowed to roam freely.