An assistance puppy and two trainers are recovering after being attacked by a stray dog while completing a training session in a public park.
Assistance Dogs Australia puppy Rosebud and her two volunteer educators were out for their regular walk near Kirrawee Oval in the Sutherland Shire, in Sydney’s south, when a dog off-leash approached, launching an aggressive attack on the trio.
“To whoever let their staffy-cross brown-brindle dog off-leash near Kirrawee Oval, (where it shouldn’t be off-leash) in Kirrawee just then, we would appreciate if you would come forward and take responsibility for your irresponsibility,” Fran Diogo, a dog trainer for the program wrote on Facebook.
“Our puppy in training, Rosebud was just out carrying on her training and journey to become an assistance dog for someone living with a physical diversity, Autism or PTSD and you could have just ruined that by letting your off-leash dog charge and attack such a young puppy,” Ms Diogo wrote.
Both Rosebud and one of her trainers received injuries requiring medical treatment from the attack which Ms Diogo said was over in less than 30 seconds, leaving the trainers in such shock, they were unable to search for the owner of the dog responsible.
One of the trainers was taken to hospital after being bitten on the hand, while the young puppy was left with puncture wounds requiring surgery. The other trainer was bitten on the foot but thanks to protective footwear, was left with only bruising.
“He got the worse of it on his hand... it’s slowly improving,” Ms Diogo said.
“Rosie is recovering from her surgery well, unfortunately one of the punctures was a little deeper when investigated and she needs a drain,” she added.
Ms Diogo said that while Rosebud was recovering better than expected and “happily wagging her tail when seeing other dogs”, the ordeal could have been much worse and possibly ended the puppy’s career as an assistance dog.
“Our pups are bred to be quite resilient, but it may take some extra training to help her down the track,” Ms Diogo explained.
“We’ll have a behavioural management plan in place when exposing her to similar type dogs, hopefully she won’t anticipate all dogs with that look pose a threat.”
The incident took place last month in an area with visible signage warning dog owners not to allow their dogs off-leash, was reported to local council but Ms Diogo said the owner of the dog that attacked Rosebud and her trainers has yet to be identified.
She is hoping that by sharing the incident with the public it will remind other dog owners to keep their dogs on a lead when not properly trained.
“I urge whoever was this irresponsible dog owner to be more considerate of other people and other people’s dogs,” Ms Diogo said.
“If you need help managing your dog’s behaviour look for a qualified dog trainer but don’t let your dog off leash if you don’t know how they’ll react.”
Rosebud is part of an Australia wide program that trains labradors and golden retrievers to help people living with disabilities.
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