A blind man feared his faithful guide dog had been killed after it was savaged by Staffordshire Bull Terrier in Wolverhampton city centre.
Alistair Dunbar's five-year-old labrador, Theresa suffered puncture wounds to her neck during the attack in Woolpack Alley, off Dudley Street.
Eye-witnesses said the owner of the bull terrier - believed to be a local homeless man - lost control of the dog before it began barking wildly and clamped its jaws around the guide dog's neck, swinging it around like a rag-doll. The dog eventually relinquished his grip after local butchers kicked him, doused him in cold water and repeatedly struck him with an iron bar.
Mr Dunbar, who is completely blind and relies on Theresa to help him carry out his daily routine, said the attack on August 1 had left him "severely traumatised".
The 64-year-old from Willenhall said: "I am absolutely distraught. I could hear my dog yelping and I knew something was wrong. When it quietened down I thought she was dead.
"The whole thing was probably over in a few minutes but it felt like it lasted an eternity. I was covered in blood from head to toe."
Theresa was taken to the vets and received multiple stitches in her neck.
Police attended the scene at around 11am and are currently investigating the incident.
Butchers Bill Ions, Steven Foster and Richard Ashton ran out of Michael Kirk in Woolpack Alley when they heard the commotion outside the shop.
Mr Ions, aged 62, said: "The Staffie had its jaws around the guide dog's neck and straight away I thought 'he's going to kill him here'.
"Richard kicked him a few times but he wouldn't let go, so Stephen threw a bucket of cold water over him.
"I got an iron bar from the shop and kept hitting him until he let go. It was quite shocking. There was blood everywhere. I'm just glad the bloke and his guide dog are OK."
Mr Dunbar said he was grateful to the three men for their actions.
"They probably saved my dog," he said. "I want to thank them for what they did. I know where I'll be doing my meat shopping from now on."
Under new laws, owners whose dogs attack guide dogs can face up to three years in prison.
Laura Lane Clarke, of the Shrewsbury branch of The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, said: "This was a shocking attack which has left a guide dog requiring surgery and her owner traumatised.
"Alistair, like many blind people relies on his guide dog. We campaigned for tougher sentences to encourage irresponsible owners to take better care of their dogs."Subscribe to our Newsletter