Dog Attacks

2011 Dog Attack & Interference Survey - United States Report:

The Seeing Eye conducted a survey of guide dog users (regardless of school affiliation) to collect data on the frequency, circumstances and effects of attacks and interference by aggressive dogs. The purpose of the study was to confirm anecdotal information indicating that guide dog teams experience a high frequency of attacks and interference, identify possible interventions to help reduce their frequency, and to establish baseline data to assist with future studies.
Use the links below to download a basic text file, PDF or Microsoft Word Document of the report. The Seeing Eye would like to express its deepest gratitude to all who participated to help us better understand the gravity of this problem.

Imagine that you are blind and use a Seeing Eye dog to make your way through this world. Now imagine what it would be like for you or your dog guide to be attacked by an aggressive dog that you can hear but cannot see. In practical terms, it could mean a temporary or permanent loss of your essential guide and beloved companion. In emotional terms, the experience would be nothing short of terrifying.

Such attacks occur all too frequently, posing a significant threat to dog guide teams. The Seeing Eye works extensively with graduates, state legislators, national consumer groups, other dog guide schools, law enforcement agencies, and animal-related organizations to prevent these ongoing incidents of attack and interference by loose or uncontrolled dogs.

Background on Dog Attacks

According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.7 million Americans suffer dog bites each year, and of those almost 800,000 are serious enough wounds that they require medical attention. The American Veterinary Medical Association and insurance company statistics report that there are over one million dog bite reports filed annually.

Some experts suggest that the trend can be traced to a combination of irresponsible dog owners and the rising popularity of large, fierce breeds, sought for protection rather than companionship. The sad truth, though, is that any dog - regardless of its breed or size - can pose a threat to the health and safety of people, or other animals, if it is allowed to roam loose or is inadequately controlled.

Not surprisingly, dog guide teams suffer a disproportionately larger risk from loose dogs than does the general public.

The Seeing Eye 2011 Dog Attack Survey shows that the vast majority of dog guide teams have experienced attacks and interference by loose or uncontrolled dogs. Even if injury does not result, unprovoked attacks and harassment on a dog guide team can make it impossible for some dog guides to continue to perform their duties and can also rob the blind handler of the ability to travel freely without being fearful of subsequent attacks.

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For more information, contact The Seeing Eye Advocacy Council toll-free at (800) 539-4425 or email advocacy@seeingeye.org.