Mildenhall guide dog attack leaves blind Brandon pensioner sick with fear

Annemarie Gray with her guide dog Diamond who was attacked by another dog on a bus.''Picture Mark Westley
Annemarie Gray with her guide dog Diamond who was attacked by another dog on a bus.''Picture Mark Westley

A blind woman has appealed for people who saw her guide dog being attacked on a bus to come forward.

Annemarie Gray, from Brandon, has been too scared to return to Mildenhall to see friends since her Labrador-retriever cross Diamond was attacked by what police believe was a German shepherd which ran onto the bus as it stopped at the town’s bus station.

Guide dog Diamond.''Picture Mark Westley

Guide dog Diamond.''Picture Mark Westley

The 71-year-old said: “The noise was horrendous. It’s frightened the life out of me. I thought ‘she’s being torn to pieces’. There was all this snarling and people shouting because [the owner] was up the road talking to someone and people were shouting at him.

“Somebody told me Diamond went into a submissive position, with her paws over her head, like she’s trained to.

“She’s a wonder dog, she really is, and I thought, if anything happens to her – well, I don’t know what I’d do.”

Suffolk Police this week put out details of the September 18 attack in the hope of getting information on the dog’s owner.

They and Annemarie thanked people on the bus and passersby who pulled the attacker off and checked Diamond, who was unhurt, for injuries.

Annemarie added: “There was a lovely American who walked me over to meet my friends – I was just shaking.”

She has been out with Diamond but when she revisited Mildenhall, she was so frightened she was sick. She hopes to try again today.

Helen Sismore from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said such attacks often mean dogs, which cost £56,000 to train, have to be retired early because they lose confidence.

“That’s like taking someone in a wheelchair, turfing them out of it and saying they’re on their own,” she said.

Because the dog and handler communicate through the harness, each can pass on their nervousness after an attack, so they lose confidence in each other.

She said attacks have risen from eight a month in 2014 to 10 a month today.

Often there are difficulties getting evidence, but Helen said: “In this case we have the evidence this happened. What we haven’t got is the actual person.”

The German shepherd was with a young man with a beard.

Call Suffolk Police on 101, quoting 63439/17.