People are always devastated when their dog is attacked by another animal. Dog attacks are frequent and common, because of animal's protective nature and their instinct to guard their property. Wild dogs can be especially vicious, or dogs that were abused by former owners. While every dog attack is saddening, they impose even greater problems for a person who relies on a seeing eye dog from day to day. Vision impaired individuals rely on these helpful hounds to take them where they need to be and to act as their eyes.
When a seeing-eye dog is attacked, it puts both the dog and the owner into a life-threatening situation. The Guide Dog Board, in association with the San Francisco Police Department, the California Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Medical Response team, have created a system that owners should adhere to when their seeing-eye dog is attacked. When the dog is injured, he or she will be severely disoriented. It is best to sit down with your pet, out of range of the attacking animal, and wait for assistance, especially if you are vision impaired. Contact the authorities as soon as possible.
When you talk to the police, make sure to inform them of what happened and report as many details as possible. Someone else may be responsible for your injuries, so you will want to find out the dog's owners if possible and tell that information to the police. The American Medical Response team will probably arrive on the scene shortly. They have a duty to protect patients, especially those who are vision impaired. According to one paramedic, the owner of the attacking dog should be held responsible for the injuries incurred to both the human and the dog as a result of the attack.
Guide dog attacks are taken seriously- sometimes even more seriously than a regular dog attack because of the inconvenience and hurt that it presents to the owner. In most cases, the ambulance will take your dog to a near veterinary hospital for treatment. Keep all of your bills, as the other owner is probably responsible to cover these costs. Sometimes, disinfectant and some stitches can cure your dog, or a surgery. Other times, the attack may to permanent damage, or give your dog a disease transferred from the other animal.
In these cases, the Guide Dogs Association of America recommends that you retire your animal. It isn't safe to place your life in the paws of an unreliable guide dog. Oftentimes the other dog owner will need to contribute to the costs of getting you a new guide dog. The offending dog in the attack will be taken into custody and the owners will be prosecuted accordingly. A careful vet may be able to save your pet from a mandatory retirement. The Guide Dogs Association will determine if/when your pet is healthy enough to aid you once more.
Your local police department can help to answer your questions on this issue. In February 2010 police departments and various guide dog establishments met together to determine how America should deal with a dog attack that impairs a guide dog from being able to perform the tasks needed. In addition to the standards that were set above, the press conference determined that the police have the right to get involved in the case. Because of this, the first number you should call in the event of an attack on your seeing-eye dog is 9-1-1. These same principles apply for being who have handicap assistance dogs. Veterinarians have committed to do all they possibly can to save your specially trained canine.