Fears loose pets are threat to guide dogs

Marie Raynor with her guide dog and friends who are petitioning for an order to be put in place where all dogs are on leads on pavements and shopping areas to prevent attacks on guide dogs
Marie Raynor with her guide dog and friends who are petitioning for an order to be put in place where all dogs are on leads on pavements and shopping areas to prevent attacks on guide dogs
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A visually-impaired Sheffield woman has launched a petition campaigning for new rules to ban loose dogs in public places.

Marie Raynor, who works as an adviser for businesses, helping people with sight problems in workplaces, says owners should always have their pets on a lead.

Marie, from Fulwood, is concerned about the number of incidents where loose dogs disrupt or attack guide dogs – as well as the risk they pose to children or vulnerable people.

Marie is collecting signatures on a petition in shops around her neighbourhood and has also set up a petition on the 10 Downing Street website.

She said: “I have asked Sheffield Council whether we could have a dog control order to ban loose dogs but they said the idea would have to go out to public consultation and they would have to prove there is a need.

“Does that mean that someone has to get bitten before something can be done?”

Marie said that, nationally, 240 guide dogs and other assistance dogs helping disabled people have had to be withdrawn from their duties after being attacked by loose dogs in the last two years.

She said: “There are problems even if the loose dog is being friendly rather than aggressive because it can distract assistance dogs.

“When they interfere with my guide dog, they put me at risk of being injured by tripping or walking into obstacles or people. There is a problem with loose dogs in Sheffield – the council has told me that, in 2011, 1,300 of them were impounded by dog wardens.”

■ Visit e petitions and search ‘Sheffield’ to view and sign the petition.