Bull terrier lunged at guide dog in Ipswich, court hears
A homeless man has admitted being in charge of a bull terrier which attacked a guide dog in Ipswich town centre.
Mark Dyer, 31, of no fixed abode, appeared before magistrates in Ipswich on Thursday charged with being the person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control.
The court heard how on December 14, 2018, a blind lady was walking in Upper Brook Street, Ipswich, with her guide dog when Dyer's Staffordshire bull terrier named Stella lunged at the assistance animal.
A member of the public, who was walking in the street, was forced to step in and had to pull the dogs apart.
The attack meant the blind woman was left unassisted for a short while as she was forced to let go of her dog so the animal could escape the bull terrier.
She was left distressed and very upset by the incident.
Dyer was often seen in Ipswich sitting on bedding outside Sainsbury's or Wilko with his pet alongside him, the court heard.
He was not present at the time of the attack but had left the bull terrier in the care of a woman, who did nothing to try to stop the attack.
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The Staffordshire bull terrier, which was not wearing a muzzle during the incident, was taken away from Dyer following the attack and has since been destroyed.
Dyer admitted the offence at Suffolk Magistrates' Court and sentencing was adjourned until September 6.
He was released on unconditional bail.
According to a 2018 report, 12 guide dogs are attacked in the UK every month. In nearly 60% of these attacks the aggressor dog was off the lead.
The charity Guide Dogs said the cost of helping them and their owners recover following attacks has topped £1.3million since 2010.
Guide Dogs launched its Take the Lead campaign last year, calling for the public to put their dog on a lead when they see a guide dog working.
Rachel Moxon, Guide Dogs researcher, said: "Guide dogs are life-changing for those living with sight loss, helping their owners live life to the full.
"Attacks on our dogs destroy confidence and can mean a guide dog owner once again loses their freedom and independence.
"Putting your dog on a lead when you see a guide dog working, allows you to have more control over the situation."