Sergeant Herndon & Officer Denny's suggestions for dealing with Law Enforcement after an attack
Sergeant Herndon and Officer Denny have offered the following suggestions to any guide dog handler who experiences an attack by an errant pet dog. They recommend the following protocol for responding officers:
- To ensure a priority response from the police department, inform 911 dispatch: 'We were attacked'. Sergeant Herndon feels strongly that a guide dog user should say to dispatch: 'We were attacked by a pet dog, please respond and assist'. The reason is that a crime was committed, even if the dog or person was not injured. A guide dog is an extension of the handler and the person's safety and independence is in jeopardy if their guide dog is attacked or injured. Sergeant Herndon sees no liability concerns with guide dog handlers saying this phrase to dispatch.
- When police officers (or Animal Control agents) arrive, get badge number and name of these officers in case they do not follow proper procedure, so they can be contacted later).
- Have documentation available with regards to State Laws, County or city ordinances, to give to responding officer to help educate them about the Guide Dog handler's rights.
- MAKE SURE THEY MAKE A POLICE REPORT AND GIVE YOU THE REPORT NUMBER.
- In a situation where a guide dog handler has challenges with proper response to an incident, the handler should contact the city Chief of Police. Police Chiefs are servants of the public and MUST respond to any public inquiry and they have the power to change policy. In smaller towns it is much easier, but even in large cities making contact with the Chief of Police involves walking in and making an appointment with the secretary. That is their job and direct contact could be a positive impetus for change in your community.