Geraldine Church, Disability Support Network Secretary; Dave Pickering, Disability Support Network Chair, with guide dog Morgan; Andrew Leon, Guide Dogs for the Blind; Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer; PCC Barry Coppinger; Linda Oliver with guide dog Zoe
The Police & Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer and local neighbourhood officers have heard of an attack on an assistance dog which took place in Cleveland in the last two years.
On 20 May, at a meeting of the Disability Support Network, a group which represents disabled officers and staff, a local resident, Linda Oliver, recounted the attack on her guide dog, Zoe, at a park in Middlesbrough.
Zoe was viciously attacked by another dog, which was on a lead at the time, whilst Linda was assisting a guide dog stall at the Middlesbrough Mela in 2011. The experience left both Zoe and Linda in a state of shock for some time with their confidence, and ultimately their independence, extremely affected.
Andrew Leon, Engagement Manager with Guide Dogs for the Blind, highlighted the difficulties in returning a guide dog back to work after an attack and the long term trauma which can be experienced by a blind person after being party to an attack of this nature.
The account of Linda’s experience was recorded and will now be used by Cleveland Police as a training tool to improve the way officers tackle situations where an attack on an assistance dog has taken place.
Changes to legislation, outlined by the Queen at the opening of Parliament recently, will also make attacks such as this a criminal offence where owners will be held to account for their dog’s actions, especially when the attack has taken place on a working dog.
Posted on Tuesday 21st May 2013