AN AUTISM assistance dog, who cost €22,000 to train, may not work again following a vicious attack.
The attack by another dog took place while the assistance dog, Gandi, was on a family visit with his owner at Firhouse Park in Dublin.
Gandi, aged four, has been working as an assistance dog since he qualified two-and-a-half years ago. He was trained by Mallow-based organisation Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland (AADI) and had to undergo intensive reconstructive ear surgery after he was set upon by a dog off his leash.
A spokesperson for the Mallow-based organisation, Carla Ankiah, stressed the importance of keeping dogs on a leash in public areas.
“We urge all dog owners to remember they need to take responsibility for their beloved pets.
“If you’re not sure if your dog can be trusted in social situations, keep it on a leash or run it in an enclosed area with no other dogs/children nearby.
“The dog owner involved in this incident left a mother and son alone and in distress, trying to prevent further damage to their beloved service dog from this vicious attack.
“This incident could prevent Gandi from ever working again.”
Gandi spent the night at a veterinary surgery last Thursday, and then returned home Friday morning.
“If he shows any signs of defensiveness, aggressiveness or nervousness around other dogs, unfortunately, he couldn’t return to work as the chances of us reversing these effects are quite slim.”
Gandi works with a teenager with autism.
Ms Ankiah said: “Gandi is very valuable to the family and will be a big loss if he can’t work any more.”