Caroline Spelman MP for Meriden, has supported Guide Dogs’ call to stop attacks on guide dogs, and attended a reception at the Houses of Parliament yesterday. She was amongst the 150 members of parliament that backed the charity's call.
New figures that were released on Monday, 11 June, showed attacks on guide dogs are at an all time high and now running at an average of eight a month. Guide Dogs held the reception to highlight the charity’s growing concern about attacks on guide dogs by other dogs and to ask MPs for their support.
The government is currently consulting compulsory microchipping but has said its preferred option is to microchip puppies only. Under this plan, it would take 10 to 15 years before all dogs are microchipped. Guide Dogs believes it would take too long to have an impact and wants to see the compulsory microchipping of all dogs within two years. Guide Dogs sees the compulsory microchipping of all dogs as a vital first step towards reducing the number of attacks, but believes the Government should go further.
David Cowdrey, Guide Dogs' Campaigns Manager, said: "An attack on any dog is frightening, but for a guide dog owner it is much worse. With more than eight reported attacks on guide dogs a month, the trauma caused by these unprovoked attacks could leave a blind or partially sighted person a virtual prisoner in their own home. We welcome Caroline’s support for our campaign, and ultimately we want the law changed so an attack on an assistance dog is treated as seriously as an attack on a person."
Caroline said: “ I was delighted to attend the reception and meet Guide Dogs members and hear what they had to say about the problems guide dogs face. I suspect that many people are unaware of this issue and I am pleased to highlight it and support Guide Dogs in their campaign. I have long held the belief that dogs must be kept under control when out in public and that any dog that might pose a risk to people or other animals should be on a lead and muzzled.”