Two Cleveland Police dogs being destroyed following separate attacks within a month

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

A POLICE dog is to be destroyed a month after savaging a pensioner who died a few days later.

Conformation of the decision came as it emerged that another Cleveland Police dog has been put down after biting a handler.

Irene Collins, 73, was savaged inside her home in Penrith Road, Middlesbrough, last month, by a dog which had been searching for a drug suspect.

Ms Collins, who was understood to have previous health problems, was taken to Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital on July 16, where she died four days later.

Officers had been searching for 18-year-old Mohammed Zakwan Rashid, of Leeds. He pleaded guilty at Teesside Crown Court to three charges of being concerned in the supply of 1.5kg of heroin, dangerous driving and the concealment of criminal property in his motor vehicle - more than £14,000 in cash. He will be sentenced on September 3.

Cleveland Police has now confirmed that, following an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the dog will be destroyed.

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “A decision has been made by Cleveland Police that the police dog involved in the incident at Penrith Road on July 16 should be put down.

"As the IPCC investigation is continuing, it is appropriate to wait until all enquiries relating to the dog have been concluded prior to this action being taken."

Meanwhile, a member of police staff was treated in hospital after suffering bites to his lower arm at the force’s kennels in North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, last week.

Assistant Chief Constable, Sean White, said the dog was due to retire from duty in a month and has been put down after it failed a safety test following the incident which happened at about 1.30pm on Thursday, August 14.

“Bites to dog handlers and police staff do occur during the handling and training of dogs as, by their nature, they can be unpredictable and are used in environments that involve large scale public order, criminal use of firearms and crowd control,” he said.

“Dog handlers and staff are trained to a high level in order to recognise behaviours.

“The matter has been referred to the Health and Safety Executive and the Force’s Professional Standards Department, as is normal procedure.”

He added: “The incident occurred away from the public and no members of the community were at risk.”

A recent BBC report claimed that children as young ten have been bitten and there were 150 cases of innocent people being attacked by police dogs in 2011, 2012 and 2013

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA North-East declined to comment.

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