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New Survey From The Seeing Eye Reveals Dangerous Threat to Guide Dog Users – Cision

Nearly half have been victims of dog attacks; pet owners urged to be more aware

MORRISTOWN, N.J. – The Seeing Eye recently concluded a survey of guide dog users in the United States which revealed that a startling 44 percent of guide dog teams have been attacked by other dogs. Instances of aggressive interference from another dog are even higher, hitting 83 percent. Most of the reported attacks (80 percent) take place in a public right of way such as a sidewalk or street; and 74 percent of attacks occurred within a 30-minute walk of the guide dog user’s home, hindering the person’s ability to travel in his or her own neighborhood.
“This report confirms and delves into a danger that guide dog users, including me, face every day,” Seeing Eye President & CEO Jim Kutsch said. “Attacks and harassment of guide dogs by other dogs jeopardize the safety of the team and can have long term negative consequences. People who are blind can sometimes become sufficiently disoriented during an attack that they get lost in their surroundings. If the dog is injured, the owner may not be able to tell and without help, cannot get the dog to a veterinarian for treatment. Dogs who are physically or psychologically injured can be forced into premature retirement, leaving the handler with limited means of independent travel.”
Guide dog teams are vulnerable to attack, not only because of their owners’ visual limitations, but because the dogs are trained to be unresponsive to approaching dogs while they are guiding their handler. This often makes them a target. People who are blind or visually impaired risk injuring their own dogs if they attempt to defend themselves or their dogs by using pepper spray or a baton against an attacking dog. In addition, 60 percent of respondents who reported attacks to animal control or the police felt dissatisfied with the way the incident was handled, expressing frustration with the lack of follow-up and insufficient understanding by officials.
Frequency of Attacks
Attacking Dogs
The Aftermath of an Attack
35% of respondents reported the attack resulted in negative changes in their guide dog’s behavior toward other dogs. The most frequent changes were guide dogs becoming easily distracted by other dogs (50%), aggression towards other dogs (43%) and becoming fearful or shy of other dogs (43%). These behaviors may be temporary or permanent but either circumstance compromises the team’s ability to work safely and effectively.
Tips for Dog Owners: Even a friendly, family dog, can cause harm by distracting the guide dog
For more information about dog attacks and specific recommendations on how pet owners, animal control, police officers and legislators can help keep their communities safe for guide dog users, visit www.seeingeye.org/protect.

Michelle Barlak
Senior Associate, Public Relations
The Seeing Eye, Inc.
973-539-4425, ext. 1863

Established in 1929, The Seeing Eye provides specially bred and trained dogs to guide people who are blind. Seeing Eye® dog users experience greatly enhanced mobility and independence, allowing them to retain their active lifestyles despite blindness. The Seeing Eye is a philanthropy supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, bequests, and other planned gifts.

The Seeing Eye is a trademarked name and can only be used to describe the dogs bred and trained at the school’s facilities in Morristown, N.J. If you would like more information on The Seeing Eye, please visit the website at www.SeeingEye.org, call (973) 539-4425, or email info@seeingeye.org.



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