TAIPEI - A guide dog in training was attacked by a Shiba Inu (a breed of Japanese dog) and its owner recently, resulting in an eye injury that might disqualify the dog from serving as a guide dog, the Taiwan Guide Dog Association (TGDA) said yesterday.
The TGDA said that Xanti, a nine-month-old guide dog in training, was being walked by its owner, surnamed Chen, earlier this week in Xindian District when it was attacked by a Shiba Inu that was not on a leash.
Chen said that the Shiba Inu bit Xanti on its ear and mouth, so she approached the Shiba Inu's owner and asked him to control his dog.
The Shiba Inu's owner, however, told Chen that Xanti had scared his dog, and then threw his sandal at Xanti.
Chen immediately asked him to stop, but he again threw his sandal at Xanti while allegedly saying that he "just wanted to harm the dog."
According to the TGDA, the attack caused injury to Xanti's left retina, an injury which may force Xanti from guide dog service in the future.
A member of the TGDA noted a veterinarian's suggestion that Xanti refrain from strenuous exercise, a limitation which may prevent the dog from assuming the responsibility of guiding visually impaired people.
According to the TGDA, this is the first deliberate attack on a guide dog since the association was founded 11 years ago.
The TGDA said that guide dogs are the eyes of the visually impaired. The training of a guide dog takes about two years and usually costs at least NT$1 million (S$42,250).
There are only 40 guide dogs in service and 70 guide dogs are currently undergoing training in Taiwan, so each guide dog is very precious, the TGDA said.
The TGDA accompanied Chen to report this case to the police, who have decided to launch an investigation, but the identification of the Shiba Inu owner remains unknown at this time.