A NEWPORT man is refusing to move from his current home in the city despite facing the threat of losing his guide dog for safety reasons.
Granville Vaughan’s guide dog Bowden (Bow), a black Labrador, has been attacked by loose dogs in Lliswerry where he lives, and nearly died after swallowing discarded broken glass.
In 2011 Mr Vaughan had to give up his previous black Labrador guide dog Nadia, after she was attacked and stopped working properly.
Recent incidents have led Guide Dogs UK to ask Mr Vaughan, completely blind due to a hereditary eye disease, to move for his and the dog’s safety. He has been told Bow cannot remain with him unless he moves.
Mr Vaughan has lived much of his life in Lliswerry, and is a vociferous campaigner on dangerous dogs.
He said: “I’m being told I have to move somewhere I’m not familiar with and where I don’t know anyone, because other people can’t control their dogs and chuck litter around. They (Guide Dogs UK) are talking about helping me get a place in St Julians. It’s not far away, but I don’t know the area or people.
“I’m being penalised. It’s time politicians got to grips with dangerous dogs running around loose, attacking people and other dogs. Some owners don’t give a damn and blind and sightless people and their dogs are more at risk.
“Until tough decisions taken about dangerous breeds and punishments for irresponsible owners, nothing will change. It broke my heart about Nadia and it took a long time to get Bow. I can get around with my cane, but it’s easier with a dog. Nadia and Bow have been my eyes.
“I’m determined I’m not moving. Why should I? I’ve done nothing wrong.”
A Guide Dogs UK spokesman said the organisation has a duty of care to protect guide dogs from harm.
She said: “After Bow survived eating glass, we are concerned that were he to eat any other dangerous materials in the future, he may not be so lucky. We understand losing his guide dog would be very tough for Mr Vaughan.
“Guide dogs are life-changing for their owners, so to be parted from one can be difficult. In circumstances such as these, we assess our service users’ needs individually to see if there are other ways we can help them to get out and about on their own terms, and we’ll be supporting Mr Vaughan.”