Guide dog traumatised by terrier’s savage attack

Elaine MacKenzie and Una, who is still suffering the effects of her ordeal

Elaine MacKenzie and Una, who is still suffering the effects of her ordeal

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A GUIDE dog was left bloodied and with puncture wounds to its chest following a savage attack by a bull terrier in a Leith supermarket.

The horrifying ordeal lasted around five minutes as the guide dog owner, shop staff and customers repeatedly tried to free the whimpering animal that had been gripped around its chest and neck during a visit to Tesco in Duke Street.

The two-year-old Retriever-Labrador cross, called Una, received veterinary treatment for its injuries, including antibiotics, while a special collar emitting calming pheromones was also prescribed.

The incident comes amid reports from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association of a huge rise in attacks on guide dogs.

New research shows the number of reported attacks nationally has more than doubled from three a month to over seven dog attacks a month within a 14-month period to August 2011.

Una’s owner, Elaine MacKenzie, 58, who is registered blind, told how the unprovoked supermarket incident had been a terrifying experience for both her and the dog. “I popped in to do a bit of shopping and as I walked towards the exit I stopped to make sure I’d put everything in my bag and all of a sudden this dog, that was tied to the shopping baskets holder, just flew at us.

“Una made a noise that can only be described as a scream as this dog got hold of her, trailing shopping baskets behind it.

“I tried hitting it with the lead as customers and staff came over to help and, eventually, they did manage to get the dog off.”

The bull terrier dog had pierced Una’s chest and neck, leaving the trembling animal in a “shocked” condition, said Mrs MacKenzie.

“I was frantic during all this. If that attack had been any worse Una may not have been able to work again and my mobility would be gone. Una is still suffering after effects from the attack and is hesitant about going into Tesco.

A report on guide dog attacks published last month suggest most incidents were unprovoked and where the aggressive dog was uncontrolled and off the lead.

Author Rachel Moxon, of Guide Dogs National Breeding Centre, found that Bull breeds were responsible for almost a third of attacks. In a report she wrote: “So far three guide dogs have been permanently withdrawn and another two are currently being assessed to see if they are able to continue working. The other major impact is that blind and partially sighted people are left without a guide dog and become housebound until another suitable dog can be matched up.”

david.mccann@edinburghnews.com