Information for Animal Control & Police Officers

Attacks and harassment involving guide dog teams are far more dangerous than simple dog-on-dog altercations. Unlike pet owners, people who are blind rely on the vital services of their guide dogs to safely and independently navigate their surroundings. When a guide dog is suddenly unable to perform its work, the handler’s safety is severely compromised.

Injury inflicted by the offending dog is not the only threat. During an altercation and its aftermath, handlers can lose their orientation and be unaware of hazards such as nearby obstacles, changes in the ground’s surface, or oncoming traffic. Without the guide dog’s aid, the handler is left without a means of safe mobility.

Harassment by uncontrolled dogs can also jeopardize the handler’s mobility. When a guide dog is concerned about a menacing dog, or trying to avoid an unruly pet, it cannot effectively perform its duties as a guide. Repeated incidents of harassment by the same neighborhood dog pose an ongoing threat, and in some instances, force handlers to take alternative routes to avoid known dogs. These situations can even prevent the handler from venturing out at all if no alternative route is available. In short, without the use of vision to protect themselves or their guide dogs, handlers are at a distinct disadvantage when dealing with aggressive dogs.

Tips for Managing & Preventing Attacks and Interference

  • Assign a high priority response to calls involving attacks and interference against guide dog teams. An immediate and ongoing threat to the handler’s safety exists during these situations. Timely action by the police is crucial.
  • Conduct thorough investigations of attack/interference incidents and base decisions on information gathered as well as on implications to the future safety of the team.
  • Increase efforts to restrain dogs at large in areas where guide dog teams live or typically travel. Statistics show that most altercations take place within a one-mile radius of the handler’s home.
  • Educate the community about the importance of keeping pet dogs away from guide dog teams. A good place to start is with the resources from The Seeing Eye's Guide Dog at Work awareness campaign.
  • Check for state laws pertaining to the protection of guide dog teams. Almost all states provide specific protections for guide dogs and other types of service animals.

For more information, contact The Seeing Eye Advocacy Specialist toll-free at (800) 539-4425 or email