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Parish calls for tougher dog penalties
9:00am Saturday 28th December 2013 in Devon
MID Devon MP Neil Parish is calling for tougher penalties for irresponsible dog owners after a guide dog was attacked in Uffculme.
The Tiverton and Honiton MP believes a stronger stance is required to deter such attacks after 80-year-old Tilly Trotter’s guide dog Gwyn was injured in the attack at the beginning of December.
The four-year-old dog sustained serious bite injuries to her legs and chest and was left so traumatised by the incident, that the charity Guide Dogs has been forced to withdraw her from service.
As a result, Tilly, who has only a small amount of peripheral vision, has lost her independence and is not able to go out safely unless someone is available to guide her.
Mr Parish said he was well aware of the need for the law to be changed.
He said: “If the penalties for allowing pet dogs to attack guide dogs and other assistance dogs are increased this will send out a message to irresponsible dog owners which will hopefully reduce the number of such incidents.
“It will also reduce the number of attacks on postal workers which has been giving much cause for concern.”
Alun Gwernan-Jones, on behalf of Guide Dogs, said attacks on Guide Dogs were becoming more frequent – ten attacks a month are reported nationally.
Each Guide Dog costs about £50,000 to train and support during its lifetime, so every time a dog has to retire as a result of an attack it results in a considerable financial loss to the charity – which receives no government funding and is entirely dependent on donations from supporters.
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