A BLIND pensioner was left shaken after an out-of-control Staffordshire Bull Terrier mauled his beloved guide dog.

Four-year-old Oake needed surgery following the unprovoked attack in Basildon town centre.

He was guiding owner Arthur Holman, 77, along Market Square when the dog pounced, leaving Oake with blood pouring from his mouth.

Police now want to track down the owner of the Staffie - who fled the scene.

Mr Holman, of Steeple Hall, Pitsea, feared history was repeating itself as two years ago his first guide dog Hamish had to retire after a similar attack.

He said: "As soon as the dog went for him I could feel Oake pulling up on his lead trying to get away. People rushed over to help us and they told me Oake was bleeding pretty badly from his mouth.

"My first thought was 'oh no it's happening again' and I was scared I was going to lose him like I did Hamish. You have to bond with a guide dog and it takes a long time to build that relationship up.

"When he's got his harness on he knows he has to work but as soon as we're home Oake is part of the family."

Oake was rushed to his vets for surgery but is now recovering.

Mr Holman went blind 12 years ago because of a genetic condition with his retina.

New laws were introduced in March meaning attacks on Guide Dogs are treated as seriously as attacks on humans.

Under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, owners could be jailed for up to three years.

Inspector Dick Thomas, from Essex Police, said: "We are keen to ensure that dangerous dog cases are dealt with in a proportionate way according the individual situation of each case. Attacks on assistance dogs are issues that are taken seriously by the force."

Anyone with information about the attack, which happened about 1.15pm on Friday, July 25, should call 101.