A gay couple from Hillsboro, Oregon, were attacked by a man because their dyed pink poodle was "un-American".

David Beltier, 26, and his partner Jeremy Mark, 22, were walking their dog Beauty, who had been dyed pink for Easter.

They were outside a busy shopping centre when witnesses said a man in a car did a U-turn and pulled up near the couple.

He proceeded to get out of the car and punched Beltier, while shouting homophobic slurs at the couple.

The attacker then went back to the car to get a wrench-like weapon, which he hit Beliter with on the arm and head.

Mark told New York Daily News: "He was saying, 'Your poodle is a weird colour and that's just un-American' and 'f**k you, you fags' and shouting,"

The suspect has been identified as George Allen Mason Jr, 22, and he has since been arrested and charged with assault, intimidation, unlawful use of a weapon and reckless driving.

Mason's 23-year-old wife Saraya Gardner was found in her husband's car and he was found on foot nearby.

Beltier told katu.com: "If I didn't hear all the other people honking, all the people seeing what was going on, he could have probably severely hurt me, maybe even killed me right there and then.

"I'm so grateful for the community. If it wasn't for a lot of the witnesses and all the community people, it probably could have been really disastrous."

Mark added: "One of the witnesses tried to block him in and got the license plate number for us and then another witness followed him.

"I just couldn't believe it. I was shouting at the guy to stop. There's no need for violence. There's nothing to provoke him ... I was fearing for his life."

Police suggested Beltier wash the dye out of Beauty's hair for his safety but he said he did not want Mason to win, so would let the dog's fur grow out naturally.