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Cornwall Woman’s Guide Dog Attacked By Pit Bull #FergusGuideDog

May 28, 2013

People are trying to get #fergusguidedog trending on Twitter tonight to raise awareness of attacks on guide dogs after the case of Fergus came to public attention.

In honour of all guide dogs, and because I know the value of the independence they give to their owners, I’m posting the story here.

A Penryn woman who is losing her sight due to an untreatable disease could be left without her guide dog after it was mauled by a pit bull.

 

Kay Kitto was walking to the supermarket on Saturday morning when a loose dog dashed out of a house on Little Oaks and attacked her guide dog, Fergus.

 

“It went straight for Fergy’s neck,” Kay said, “it’s gone straight in for the kill.”

 

The harness worn by Fergus helped repel some of the initial attack, but the pit bull then went for the guide dog’s backside. It “kept yanking on his leg” and “wouldn’t stop,” Kay said.

Nigel, Kay’s husband, was forced to step in to stop the mauling.

 

“It was hard as a rock when I picked it up,” he said, “it was not a soft, spongy dog at all – it was a muscly, horrible nasty dog.”

 

After a short struggle Nigel and the owner of the loose animal, described as a “staffie” or pit bull type breed by the police, managed to shut it inside – but the damage had already been done.

 

Fergus was limping from a “nasty puncture wound to his left hind flank,” Kay said, and required immediate treatment for this and other wounds to his ankle and neck.

 

He is now on a course of antibiotics and painkillers after several visits to the vets, but his injuries are not the only concern.

 

 

“He will mend physically, but it’s whether he will mend mentally,” Kay said.

 

Neil Howe, from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, said they were horrified to hear about the attack.

 

“Dog attacks can be devastating for the people and the dogs involved and can result in the guide dog becoming so nervous that it cannot continue working,” he said.

 

“If this happens the guide dog owner, who relies on their dog as a mobility aid, can be housebound until they have been matched with a replacement dog.”

 

Kay suffers from a rare disease known as punctuate inner choroidopathy and was registered as severely sight impaired two years ago.

 

She needs Fergus, who she has only had for ten months, in order to be independent.

 

“I’m feeling sick to the stomach with worry that he will be retired,” Kay said, “[because without him] I will have to rely totally on my husband.”

 

It could take up to three years to find Kay a replacement dog.

 

Anyone who knows anything about the attack can contact the police on 101 ref GP/13/948.

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