msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 2/25/2005 10:58:37 AM ET 2005-02-25T15:58:37

A blind man has been arrested in Scotland after witnesses reported he sank his teeth into his guide dog’s head and then kicked the Labrador-retriever mix after it apparently wouldn’t help him across a busy street.

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A witness who said he saw the attack outside a busy shopping center in the Scottish capital Edinburgh reported the incident to police.

After several days investigation, officers arrested David Todd, 34, on charges of cruelty to animals and breach of the peace.

A police spokeswoman said the 8-year-old dog had been handed over to a charity dedicated to guide dogs.

The alleged attack has outraged animal rights activists and the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, which provided Todd with the dog.

Association spokesman Colin Gallagher said that Todd could lose his dog if he is convicted of the abuse charge.

“Cases of abuse by owners on their guide dogs are few and far between, but we can withdraw the dog on a permanent basis,” Gallagher told the Edinbugh Evening News.

If the dog is withdrawn, the association trains the blind person to use a white stick while walking, he said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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