Police dog attacked in Hamilton
8:32am 26 September 2008
A Police dog required veterinary treatment to wounds suffered in an attack from a pitbull suffered while tracking a group of burglars in St Andrews yesterday.
Senior Sergeant Karl Thornton said the dog and handler had been called in after a cordon was established following a tip off from the public about suspicious activity.
"A member of the public rang us after seeing five youths walking along a green belt alleyway carrying bags and alcohol, the bags were then seen being loaded into a car.
"A cordon was set up and a track commenced during which the Police dog was attacked, the injuries were not considered major life threatening," said Mr Thornton.
At this time two youths were spoken to by Police but ownership of the pitbull could not then be established, a short time later a burglary was reported at a nearby home.
"This led us to a Gurdex Crt address where a majority of items stolen in the burglary were located, as a result three youths are being interviewed by Police," said Mr Thornton.
"Subsequent enquiries established the pitbull that had attacked the Police dog was associated with this group, Animal Control officers were contacted and infringement notices issued in relation to the attack.
Because the victim of the attack was not a person the offending animal could not be taken away and destroyed however new legislation under the Policing Act 2008 that takes effect on 01 October will introduce harsher penalties for such incidents.
Mr Thornton credited the arrests and recovery of property to the quick actions of a neighbour who contacted Police and was able to keep the offenders in sight.
"This is the fourth time this week where members of the public have played a direct part in the apprehension of offenders during burglaries.
'Earlier in the week a neighbour who knew the occupants of a home were away noticed movement in the house next door and phoned Police.
"As a result the offenders were caught in the act, actions such as that and yesterday's reinforce the importance of neighbourhood support groups and the benefits of residents and Police working towards safer communities together."