A guide dog is back to work after being attacked by a pit bull Saturday on Main Street in Royal Oak.
“The dog is showing no lasting effects,” said Rochelle Kniffen, director of communications and marketing for of Rochester Hills. The visually-impaired client and instructor working with the dog are also doing fine, she said.
The pit bull broke loose from a 10-year-girl staying with the dog in the sidewalk cafe of the Burgrz restaurant, 410 S. Main.
“I heard the girl scream and looked up to see the pit bull scrambling after a seeing eye dog and a blind man who were passing by," Lana Louys of Wyandotte, who was dining at the restaurant’s outdoor area, told the Daily Tribune. "The pit bull pinned the (guide) dog to the ground and had it by the throat.”
The girl’s mother, 41, of Jackson left her daughter alone with the pit bull on a leash, according to the Daily Tribune report.
“We do not run into this type of situation very much at all,” Kniffen said. “It is not a common occurrence.”
Leader Dogs for the Blind trains dogs in Royal Oak several times a month. The golden retriever had already completed four months of instruction and was paired with a client.
Clients come from all over the United States and stay for one month working with a guide dog, Kniffen said.
“We like Royal Oak, especially on a Saturday with nice weather, like last weekend,” Kniffen said. Downtown Royal Oak offers guide dogs and clients an opportunity to train among crowds on tight streets and get familiar with railroad crossings. There are also plenty of distractions, such as other dogs, squirrels, sirens, fire trucks and the enticing small child with an ice cream cone.
“We train the dogs to stay focused,” Kniffen said. “We try to introduce them to as many environments and situations as possible.”
Another reason Leader Dogs for the Blind likes to train in Royal Oak is the friendly storekeepers, Kniffen said. “They are very much open to having the dogs, which makes it that much easier for us,” she said.
Royal Oak Police Lt. Tom Goad said officers who responded to the incident found no injuries to the dogs or people involved. The animal control officer who is investigating the case did not immediately return a call for comment. Goad said he expects some sort of enforcement to be issued.
"You have to be able to keep your dog under reasonable control," Goad said.