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Two yapping dogs have been hailed "little heroes" for helping their owner fend off a would-be rapist at a Melbourne cemetery.
A woman was walking her dogs through Williamstown cemetery last month when a stranger approached her from behind, pushed her to the ground and tried to pull her pants down.
"I started screaming pretty much straight away at the top of my lungs," she said on Wednesday.
Her Shih Tzu and terrier cross came to her aid, viciously attacking the man and growling and biting.
"The dogs were going for it," she said.
"I think that they saved me.
"It's amazing and I keep thinking about what would have happened if they had run off or not come and done anything."
The offender ran off towards K.C. White Reserve on Park Crescent.
The woman ran home and called police.
She said she did not hear or see anything prior to the attack, which occurred Saturday June 29, at 8.30pm.
The woman said she walked her dogs through the cemetery daily, although this time it was later than usual.
She said she was so shocked and scared in the aftermath, she moved elsewhere for a week.
"It's quite scary even the fact maybe I was being watched before it happened," she said.
"I live alone at the moment, so I didn't really want to be by myself around here.
"It's still quite upsetting."
Detective Senior Constable Jenna Sladek said the dogs "absolutely" played a key role in scaring off the attacker.
"We are classing them as little heroes," she said.
For the victim, the knowledge her pooches, aged one and two, saved her from danger was great comfort.
"They are extremely protective and will probably bite your ankles," she said.
Police urge anyone who saw the assault or may have been in the area at the time, particularly people who congregate at the cemetery at night, to contact Crime Stoppers.
The offender is described as being of large build, wearing a black puffer jacket and white beanie.