Police are hunting a youth who kicked a guide dog as it helped its disabled owner around Plymouth city centre.
Black Labrador Angus was left “bruised and subdued” by the “targeted” attack outside Drake Circus shopping centre at 2pm on September 20, Devon and Cornwall Police said.
His owner Nicholas Bateman, 54, who is registered blind and uses a wheelchair, was told by a passer-by that a youth had deliberately attacked the four-year-old dog.
Another witness then gave chase to a group of youths who fled in the direction of St Andrew’s Cross roundabout, but was unable to catch them.
Angus, who was trained by the charity Guide Dogs, was wearing a reflective working harness at the time of the attack.
Officers are now urging the two members of the public who helped Mr Bateman and Angus, and any other witnesses, to come forward.
Mr Bateman, of Derriford, has relied on Angus for the past two years after he lost his sight to an autoimmune disease.
He said: “My main concern is that Angus has not been himself, he is somewhat subdued and has lost some of his confidence.
“Quite simply, he is my world.
“Almost six years ago, I was struck down with an aggressive form of autoimmune disease, resulting in my sight loss.
“When Angus came into my life, I was able to regain my independence and some quality of life. Angus is my lifeline.”
Pc Andrew Rowe said: “I am very keen to identify and speak to both members of the public who assisted during this event.
“Also, in view of the fact that Plymouth city centre would have been reasonably busy at that time of the day, I would also like to hear from any other members of the public who may have witnessed this incident, or have any information which may assist my investigation.”
Guide Dogs’ head of canine-assisted services in the South West, Simon Lynn, said: “We were absolutely appalled to hear about this attack and we are supporting Mr Bateman and Angus in every way we can.
“A guide dog is a life-changing partner for someone with sight loss and we urge anyone who can help police with their inquiries to come forward.”
Anyone with any information can contact police on 101, quoting crime reference CR/083052/21, or email or email firstname.lastname@example.org.