A woman whose dog was attacked by a rampaging, off-the-lead bulldog has pleaded with owners to be more careful.

The owner is wanting to raise awareness that attacks don't just cause physical damage to their pets but also psychological damage.

Gi Ellis lives in the Heartsease area and walks her five-year-old dog Zaffi at Heartsease Recreation Ground. The pooch was rescued when she was two after being found emaciated and mistreated.

Norwich Evening News:

But on December 18 Gi and Zaffi had an unexpected encounter with an off-the-lead bulldog, resulting in a cut just below her eye.

The 53-year-old said: "I'd just started to walk Zaffi on her extendable lead so I have full control over her.

"I heard a man suddenly shout over to me, quite frantically, before I turned around and saw an American Bulldog belting towards us from the other side of the field at great speed.

Norwich Evening News:

"Because Zaffi had a really rough upbringing she gets quite defensive when dogs get up in her face, but this dog was on her before could even turn around.

"I tried to get hold of Zaffi, bear-hugging her, to try and get her away from trouble but the other dog was all over her. It all lasted about 30 to 60 seconds.

"I was stunned and gasping for breath."

After the altercation the other dog's owner "got defensive" about who was at fault, blaming Gi, before walking off and out of the area.

Norwich Evening News:

Gi said that Zaffi is now "always on alert for other dogs" and more needs to be done by dog owners to understand how they communicate with each other.

She added: "After he left I checked Zaffi over and noticed her eye.

"Physically she's fine, but her behaviour has changed and her injuries could have been much worse.

Norwich Evening News:

"It's put a temporary block on her learning and recovering from her upbringing."

"I'm now always on edge looking out for other dogs instead of being able to just enjoy a nice walk with her.

"People need to learn about dog behaviour - they have their own personalities like people do."