A sick dognapper tried to steal a guide dog for the blind as its owner was walking alone with a white stick.
University student Maisy McAdam was exercising with guide dog Willow, a six-year-old labrador-golden retriever cross when a man tried to snatch the animal.
But the would-be thief fled when Maisy, who is partially sighted, asked him what he was doing as he tried to put his own lead on the pooch.
The shocking incident has led to calls by campaigners and dog charities for tougher sentences for the crime of stealing dogs.
Maisy told MirrorOnline: "I asked him what he was doing and he seemed startled and jumped up and didn't say anything. I quickly clipped on Willow’s lead and left the area.
"I went to call my mum but then got scared that the man would come back and take my phone and Willow. I don’t have any peripheral vision so I couldn’t tell where he was or if he was near me."
Maisy, who let her dog off the lead for some exercise in Hampshire, reported the incident to the police and is still very shaken up.
She said: "I feel sick about what could have happened.
Escaped guard dog mauls girls aged two and three as children rushed to hospital
"I’m worried that as Willow is so friendly with people that she won’t have realised until it is was too late.
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association says the attempt to steal a partially sighted person's guide dog which they rely on "beggars belief".
Debbie Matthews, 65, founded Vets Get Scanning after her dogs Widget and Gizmo were snatched. They were later dumped after a TV appeal by her late father, legendary TV host Bruce Forsyth.
Blind cat missing for 11 years reunited with owner after being found one mile from home
Debbie said: "This is the first time I have ever heard of a dog thief trying to steal a guide dog.
"It’s absolutely disgusting. How low can someone stoop? It shows dog thefts are out of control in this country.
"The law needs to be changed now with tougher sentences for dog theft."
In a statement, the RSPCA said they are hearing of more attacks on lone dog owners, describing the situation as "worrying".
Hampshire Police said they received reports of the alleged attempted theft last Wednesday near Basingstoke.
Source: Read Full Article