A SAVAGE attack by an out-of-control dog which left a retired guide dog with a 12-inch scar has sparked a call for a change in the law.
Jo Cottam was forced to use all her strength to pull the dog away from her partially-sighted mum’s faithful companion, Greg, as they walked along a Doncaster street.
She is now backing a campaign by charity Guide Dogs for the Blind to allow the authorities to punish an attack on a guide dog under the same guidelines as an attack on a human.
Restaurant supervisor Jo, aged 43, was walking along Surrey Street with her 68-year-old mum Eileen Thompson, her mum’s partially-sighted partner Kelvin, 49, and their two dogs when the attack dog – believed to be an American bulldog – ran out and plunged his teeth into 12-year-old Greg’s side.
She said: “I was screaming and shouting but no-one came to help.
“I was absolutely appalled. The dog came back and tried to attack my mum’s current seeing dog, Dexter. My mum was sobbing and Greg was really traumatised.
“The dog just came running out of nowhere. I hate to think what would have happened to my mum if I wasn’t there with her.”
Jo, of Dickson Crescent in Balby, added: “Greg is just like a member of the family. Everyone who meets him loves him and he is an absolute gentleman.
“Though they did later take more action, I was shocked when I first phoned the police and they said there was nothing they could do about it as, ‘That’s just what dogs do’.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said officers did speak to the owners whose dog was believed to have carried out the attack, which happened on October 11.
He also confirmed that while criminal proceedings could not be brought over the matter, officers were planning to issue the suspected owners with a court summons in which a judge could decide to have the dog destroyed.
Kirstie Bower, mobility team manager for Guide Dogs in South Yorkshire, said: “Ultimately we want the law changed to enable the authorities to treat an attack on a guide dog and other assistance dogs like an attack on a person, in recognition of the full impact of these attacks.”
The incident is not the first of its kind on Doncaster’s streets.
Earlier this year Angela Davies, of Chappell Street in Bentley, told how her guide dog, Vance, was attacked three times in two years.
Nationally, eight guide dogs are attacked by other dogs each month.
RSPCA North spokeswoman Leanne Plumtree added: “A comprehensive approach is needed to tackle irresponsible dog ownership that prevents serious incidents from occurring rather than waiting for them to happen before action can be taken.”
A Doncaster Council spokesman confirmed they had received a report about the attack, adding dog owners have a responsibility to keep pets under control and dogs can be removed by a dog warden if they are allowed to roam.