Blind man could lose guide dog after attack

Dog owners have been urged to keep their dogs on a lead in public after a blind Belmont man’s guide dog was attacked by an unrestrained dog.

Ian Waller said he could lose his black labrador, Banjo, after having him for just four months because of the savage attack by an unidentified dog in Belmont Mall on Monday.

Mr Waller said he was walking through the mall when a dog came from nowhere and latched its jaws around Banjo’s neck.

Mr Waller thanked passersby who came to his aid and directed him to the nearest vet.

The dog’s owner reportedly had to punch the dog to get it to release Banjo.

The two-year-old pup suffered bruises, but because of the trauma may have to be retired from guide dog duty.

Guide Dogs NSW were trying yesterday to desensitise Banjo in the hope he could remain with Mr Waller.

Guide Dogs NSW Newcastle regional manager John Payne said attacks from uncontrolled pet dogs was one of the leading causes of premature retirement among guide dogs.

There have been 12 dog attacks on guide dogs over the past year including five in Sydney, four in central-western NSW, one in Queanbeyan and one on the north coast.

There are 54 guide dogs in the Hunter.

Mr Waller, who has a degenerative condition called Retinitis Atrophy, said he also felt traumatised after the attack.

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