Blind Man Targeted by Liberal Activists for Using a Guide Dog
Totally blind man told guide dogs 'should be running free in fields, not sitting in cafes'
A blind man was targetted by "aggressive" liberal activists who blasted him as "cruel" for using a guide dog.
30-year-old Jonathan Attenborough from Fife, Scotland, who has been totally blind for five years, says he was publically blasted and humiliated when he was attacked by angry activists and told guide dogs "should be running free in fields, not sitting in cafes."
Mr. Attenborough relies on his "constant companion," a highly trained labrador called Sam, for mobility and would likely be house-bound without him.
He says the guide dog had enabled him to lead a more fulfilling life after they were paired together in April last year.
However, he now says he has been subjected to two "aggressive" verbal attacks from people claiming to be campaigners against animal cruelty.
Attenborough says he has now become fearful about further abuse when he is out in public.
And, according to the Daily Mail, he is not alone.
Another blind man has also come forward to describe the hostility he too has faced.
Mr. Attenborough said: "The first time it happened to me was in April this year.
"I was in a café in Edinburgh with Sam and a man approached me to tell me I shouldn’t have a guide dog.
"He said dogs should be running free in the fields, not sitting in cafes. I thought he was joking at first.
"He wasn’t particularly hostile, just looking to have a conversation, and after I explained what kind of life Sam has, he wasn’t 100 percent [convinced] but he did seem much more open to the idea."
The second incident, however, was more "aggressive."
Mr. Attenborough told how he and another guide dog owner were approached by a so-called "animal rights activist" in a Portsmouth bar, who called them "cruel."
He added: "She was very in our faces and made us feel very uncomfortable.
"I was so taken aback. I tried to have a conversation with her but she didn’t listen, she just seemed to be in a rage.
"It got to the point her husband came over to lead her away."
He added: "Now it’s very much on my radar, I wonder about it happening again and what people think.
"But since the subject has been in the news I have had a lot of support, which is good to see.
"People can’t believe that this sort of thing happens to guide dog owners."
Mr. Attenborough is convinced Sam is very happy to be his guide dog.
He said: "Sam is always keen to come with me wherever I go.
"He is my constant companion and gets to go on free runs off-lead just like any other dog.
"He is never left at home by himself like some pets are.
"I can feel his tail wagging all the time. The bond between me and him cannot be matched."
A second man, who asked not to be named, told The Times he had also faced hostility.
He was matched with his first guide dog, a black labrador called Winnie, in July last year.
The man said: "I’ve been approached and asked why I think it’s moral for me to have a guide dog.
"To be honest, I think it’s completely inappropriate for anyone to feel it’s acceptable to approach people who maybe are disabled and own a guide dog or any service animal.
"There’s so much I rely on [the guide dog] for.
"She has improved my confidence significantly and I have to say, with guide dogs and with Winnie particularly, I don’t think I would be here without them."
Tim Stafford, of the charity Guide Dogs, said: "We are always extremely sorry to hear when a guide dog owner encounters hostility, and we will offer support in every way we can.
"Fortunately, these instances are very rare.
"The welfare of our dogs is absolutely paramount and they are bred and trained with great care."