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Guide dog attacked in Chesham park
A BLIND woman whose guide dog was savaged in a Chesham park said a child could have been killed by the out-of-control dog.
Linda Brooks' Golden Retriever Abbey was attacked in Lowndes Park by a Staffy/pitbull crossbreed, with vets later saying the dog intended to kill the guide dog.
The animal was off its lead and Mrs Brooks said the person walking it - who was not the owner - made no attempt to respond to what was happening.
It was only thanks to the intervention of two park attendants that Abbey's ordeal was ended and the other dog let go.
But Mrs Brooks, who was visiting Chesham from her home in Canterbury, said she is terrified the same thing could happen again - or a child could be the victim next time.
She said: "If my dog hadn't been there, it could have done it to a child. If it had, it would have been instant death. It doesn't bear thinking about. In a way, she could have saved a child's life.
"Everyone was getting out of the park quickly because they didn't know if it was going to turn onto something else.
"If the wardens hadn't come, this dog would have ripped my dog's throat out. It was never going to let go of her."
She added: "Being blind I didn't know what was happening. I could just hear her screaming. I was screaming, trying to get the attention of the owner, expecting them to come to her rescue."
Abbey has now returned home after the attack on Monday July 22, but she cannot guide her owner as she still can't wear a harness because of her injuries.
She was taken to the Wheelhouse vet centre in Chesham immediately after the attack and has since been seen by another vet in Canterbury.
And Mrs Brooks said: "Both vets said this dog meant to kill her - that's why they go for the throat. It missed the jugular by a fraction.
"It was horrific. She's still not working now. She seems to be doing quite well but until you put the harness on you don't know if she'll ever work again. She's seven so she's still got three or four more years of work left in her.
"We've had her around strangers and she's been cautious but getting better each time."
She added: "One moment of someone's carelessness has caused our life to be turned upside down. It ruined our summer. I'm frightened to death it'll happen again."
Mrs Brooks said the woman with the dog seemed unaware of what was happening and simply got up and walked home after the incident.
The incident was reported to the police and to Chesham Town Council, which owns Lowndes Park.
Town clerk Bill Richards said: "It's the first time I've been aware of an attack. I'm hoping it's a one-off. It's a highly distressing event for the woman and her dog.
"We are trying to be vigilant but there's no way we can stop dog owners walking through the park. There are many responsible dog owners and there are no plans to change our policy."
Thames Valley Police said this week the dog has since been destroyed and no further action will be taken against either its owner or the walker.
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