STOKE, STAFFORDSHIRE ENGLAND - A BULLMASTIFF BEING WALKED BY ITS OWNER "SOMEHOW" GOT AWAY AND ATTACKED A BLACK LABRADOR GUIDE DOG WAITING WITH ITS BLIND OWNER AT A BUS STOP
Blind Jacqui Wilkins has spoken of the horrifying moment her guide dog was savagely mauled by a BULL MASTIFF as she waited for a bus. The 54-year-old listened in terror as her black Labrador George yelped in pain as he was repeatedly bitten during a 10-minute attack in Church Street, Stoke. Two-year-old George will now have to be rested for two weeks after having a large puncture wound stitched up. It means social worker Jacqui, from Bradeley, will struggle to leave the house during that time.
She said: "I left work at 5pm and was waiting for the bus on when all of a sudden George was pulled back and dragged away from me.
"I could hear him screaming. A man was trying to get a dog off George. The dog had a hold of the side of George's body.
"I was very distressed. I was trying to comfort George. The people around me were shouting at the other dog owner to get his dog away."
The bull mastiff's owner eventually managed to prise the dog's jaws off George.
Police then arrived at the scene and escorted Jacqui and George home.
But the next morning George could barely stand and had been licking his side so Jacqui took him to Warrendale Veterinary Care Centre in Knypersley. George needed to be sedated, clipped and wound cleaned and treated. He now has to wear an inflatable around his neck to stop him licking himself until it heals.
Jacqui, who has had George for five-and-a-half months, said: "He's the centre of my universe. He helps me get in and out of the house and keeps me safe. To not have him working with me for two weeks is awful.
"When the attack was happening I feared for the worst. It was a traumatic experience."
Vet Richard Conlon said George was making a good recovery following the attack at 5.30pm on Wednesday.
He said: "George is a very mild mannered dog and has taken it in his stride.
"He had some grab wounds and a puncture wound in his size. Superficially it was the size of a 50p coin but underneath there was a deeper space of tissue that was damaged. The wound was disinfected and it was stapled partially."
Charity Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said around 10 guide dogs are attacked by other dogs across the country each month.
A spokesman said: "Attacks on guide dogs are extremely distressing for their owners. Not only is the attack itself traumatic, but whilst the dog is injured or if they cannot work again, then their owner may find it impossible to leave home on their own.
"Even if the dog is OK physically, the psychological impact can be devastating and can result in the dog being retired prematurely.
"We ask that all dog owners keep their dogs on a lead and under control when near an assistance dog. They are working, concentrating hard and should not be distracted, even by another dog. All of these attacks could be avoided."
Police have now launched an investigation into the incident.
A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: "We received a call reporting a guide dog being bitten by another.
"The incident happened when the guide dog, a black Labrador, was waiting with his owner at a bus stop in Church Street and was attacked by a bull mastiff who was being walked by his owner.
"The Labrador was taken to the vet for treatment to puncture wounds but did not require any surgery. An investigation into the incident is still ongoing."