A man who allowed his pitbull terrier to maul a police dog which was called to the scene of a suspected burglary has been spared jail.
The Belgian shepherd dog Max suffered horrific bite wounds to his throat and front legs and became so nervous he had to retire from the force after a five year unblemished record of fighting crime in the county.
In a tragic turn of events, Max went on to attack the police officer who had taken him in and was subsequently put down.
The pitbull who attacked him was also destroyed at the scene after officers managed to pull the dog off Max.
Now the pitbull’s owner Karl Millward, 19, of Farringdon Crescent, Fishwick, has walked free from court after being convicted of criminal damage of a police dog and attempted burglary.
He has been banned from owning a dog for five years.
The court heard officers were called to Hargreaves Lower Quarry, Brockholes in April after reports two men were attempting to steal from a storage container.
When they arrived at the scene Millward’s pitbull attempted to bite one of the officers, Max’s handler PC Jon Kelly in the face.
It then turned its attention to Max while Millward made no attempt to call his dog off or stop the attack.
Speaking after the incident, PC Kelly told the Evening Post: “Max was simply doing his job and without any reservation.
“If he had not been present, I would have sustained life-changing injuries should the vicious pit bull have attacked me instead.
“He was a dream to work with as he was a natural police dog.
“His work ethic was second to none.”
Max assisted in a wide range of operations across Blackpool and the Fylde, as well as in Lancaster and Morecambe, including EDL marches and hunts for suspects who had gone on the run.
In a Facebook tribute to Max on his retirement, Lancashire Police Dog Handling Unit said: “Max has found countless offenders, missing people and recovered property which has led to forensic arrests during his service. Max will be especially remembered for one of the best jobs certainly over the last couple of years, where he found two suspects hiding under water in a pond.
Max will be missed by all at the Police Dog Unit and especially his handler PC Jon Kelly who he has worked alongside every day for the last five years.
Brett Gerrity, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said: “A police helicopter was deployed as well as two officers with a police dog.
“The dog was so dangerously out of control that after all efforts to get it under control failed, police were forced to shoot it.
“The police dog, Lancon Max, has been forced to retire from the police force as a result of the severe injuries he received during the attack.
“The CPS and police are dedicated to tackling thefts and burglaries and also those who allow their dogs to be out of control when there can cause serious harm to others. We will continue to work together to bring to justice those who commit such offences.”
Karl Millward was sentenced to 6 months in a Young Offenders Institute suspended for two years, 18 month Supervision Order, disqualified from keeping a dog for five years and ordered to pay a £80 Victim Surcharge.
David Roscoe, 18, of The Glen, Ribbleton, was given a 12 month Community Order with 140 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay a £15 Victim Surcharge after pleading guilty to attempted burglary.