An Oregon man was arrested after he attacked a gay man for walking his "un-American" pink poodle down the street with his boyfriend, police said.
George Mason Jr., 22, of Hillsboro, near Portland, was charged with assault, intimidation and unlawful use of a weapon for allegedly attacking one of the men with a wrench Saturday, KPTV reported. Police are looking into the possibility that the crime was motivated by hate.
The victim, David Beltier, said he was walking with his boyfriend in Hillsboro when a man driving a car started yelling homophobic slurs at him and insulting his pink poodle, Beauty.
Beltier said he was then punched in the face and hit with a wrench. The driver then got back into his SUV and fled the scene.
"He was saying your poodle is a weird color and that's just un-American and F-you, you f--- and shouting," the victim’s boyfriend, Jeremy Mark, told KPTV.
"It just really hurts to know people are out there still like that," a choked-up Beltier told the Portland television station. "Who cares if my dog is pink. It's not their dog. So leave me alone."
"I'm very relieved I'm not hurt," he added. "I could be passed out or close to dead if he hit me hard enough or more."
Beltier said having witnesses to the attack may have been what saved him.
"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," he told KATU.
Mark said the witnesses were helpful in apprehending the suspect.
"One of the witnesses tried to block him in and got the license plate number for us and then another witness followed him," he said.
Beltier also expressed his appreciation for his fellow residents.
"I'm so grateful for the community," he told KATU. "If it wasn't for a lot of the witnesses and all the community people, it probably could have been really disastrous."
The couple was advised by police to wash out Beauty's pink dye, but they viewed doing so as a victory for the attacker. Instead, they’ll let the poodle’s fur grow out.