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Guide Dog killed in Christchurch road accident

Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB)

15 April 2005
Media release

Guide Dog killed in Christchurch road accident; guide dog handler unharmed; Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind providing support

A guide dog died Wednesday morning shortly after being hit by a commercial truck in Christchurch. The guide dog handler – Blair McConnell - was on his way to work and crossing the street at a controlled intersection with guide dog Jasper. Blair was physically unharmed although distressed.

"The loss of guide dog Jasper is very distressing and needless to say Blair is very upset but coping well under the circumstances. In fact he went back to his job yesterday, so that he could spend time with his many work colleagues who also missed Jasper," says Joe Walker, RNZFB Guide Dog Services National Manager.

"We’re conducting our own investigation and will be working with police, who expect to complete their investigation next week. The accident occurred at the intersection of Montreal and Cashel Streets.

"Jasper was taken to the vet where he passed away shortly afterwards. We are providing full and ongoing support to Blair. He and his family have requested that any media enquiries be directed to the RNZFB as they come to terms with this tragedy,” says Joe.

Accidents like this while tragic are relatively rare. Since 1982 five guide dogs have been killed in some kind of vehicle accident.

Guide dog Jasper was a male chocolate Labrador and had worked with Blair since 2000. Although Blair has been a member of the RNZFB for about 20 years, Jasper was his first and only guide dog. They were considered a very proficient guide dog team.

Blair and his family have asked that well-wishers acknowledge their loss and remember Jasper by making a contribution to the RNZFB Guide Dog Services. Text the word GDOG then send it to 883 to automatically donate $3 via your mobile phone bill.


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