Guide dog bus attack sparks council action

Ann Nowacki (Right) will talk to the council about the worrying rise is guide dog attacks
Ann Nowacki (Right) will talk to the council about the worrying rise is guide dog attacks

A “scary” attack on a guide dog has prompted a Scarborough charity to lobby Scarborough Council to see what the authority can do to make the streets safer for the blind.

A blind bus user is now “scared to come to Scarborough”, after his dog was recently attacked by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier as he travelled on the number 10 bus.

The latest incident has prompted Ann Nowacki from the Guide Dogs charity to call for the police and council to get tough on those responsible for the attacks.

Now the council is set to discuss what it can do about the 
attacks, after the charity tabled the topic for discussion at a 
future meeting.

“What we are hoping to get out of this is to firstly get across how people need to be more aware with guide dogs, and how they need to keep their dogs under control,” said Ann. “But we also want to see what both the council and the police can and will do about these attacks.”

Tough new proposed legislation, which the charity has been long campaigning for, means that dog owners can be jailed for up to three years if they are convicted of allowing their pet to attack a guide dog.

And Ann feels the law could have been applied in this latest incident, which has left the dog owner shaken up.

“He was so traumatised he had to get off the bus,” said Ann.

“He now doesn’t want to come to Scarborough, as it was a very scary attack.”

Councillor Helen Mallory has been working with Ann since her stint as the Mayor, and yesterday addressed a council scrutiny committee over guide dog attacks.

She said the latest attack left her “shocked”, and feels people shouldn’t ignore acts like this in public.

“I can’t think of anybody who wouldn’t be appalled at it. There’s no grey area to something like this and it’s frustrating that the victim felt he had to get off the next stop - it should have been the person whose dog attacked him.

“Guide dogs have to literally stand there and take it, and that really has to stop.”