Dogs to be destroyed after police officers left scarred for life following shock attack
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A police constable and community support officer were left with permanent scars when they were attacked by dogs during an arrest.
South Tyneside Magistrates Court heard Haroon Nikkai had been at an address in Sunderland when PC Sawyers and PCSO Carr arrived looking for another person in November 2022.
Liz McGowan, prosecuting, read statements from the two officers which said 27-year-old Nikkai was accompanied by his dogs Blue and Haze, which PC Sawyers described as ‘pit bull-type dogs’ in his statement.
When Nikkai raised his voice the animals became excited: “The dogs started to become aggressive,” said PC Sawyers’ statement.
“Mr Nikkai continued to shout, it was unclear whether he was ordering the dogs to attack us or not.”
The statement said Nikkai had gone to the back gate of the property where he was detained by PCSO Carr: ”I saw him strike PCSO Carr several times in the face.
“At one point, one of the dogs began to bite me. I was bitten on the arm, hand and rear end. I saw that PCSO Carr was being bitten as well.”
PCSO Carr described the dogs as ‘Staffordshire bull terriers’ in his statement and said: “Mr Nikkai begain shouting at the dogs in a foreign language, resulting in one of them biting me four times, twice on my left leg and once on my wrist. Mr Nikkai then proceeded to punched me twice in the face.”
As he exited into the back lane, one of the dogs had followed and bitten him on the buttocks, drawing blood.
Both officers had been left with scarring as a result of the bites.
Nikkai, of Alice Street, Sunderland, was appearing for sentence after admitting assaulting an emergency worker and two offences of being in charge of a dog which was dangerously out of control, causing injury, at a hearing in July.
Ms McGowan said the prosecution was seeking a five-year ban on Nikkai owning dogs and destruction orders for both animals.
The prosecution case was that Nikkai had been the reason the dogs became aggressive: “The reason, the Crown would say, is because of the behaviour of Mr Nikkai - he is encouraging what is going on.
“All he had to do was to remain quiet, but he did not do that - he encouraged them to do what they did. Without that behaviour, the dogs would just have stood there.”
Alistair Naismith, for Nikkai, said the incident had been the result of unfortunate timing: “The police did not attend looking for him.
“It was an incident that could have been avoided had he been an hour earlier going to his friend’s address or an hour later.”
It was ‘quite clear’ from the officers’ bodycam video that Nikkai was trying to calm the animals. He could be heard to say ‘Get the dogs in’.
“Before the dog bites the officer for the first time, he says ‘Watch out’,” said Mr Naismith. “He says ‘Just let me get the dogs inside’. At all times, he is trying to restrain the dogs.”
Experts had assessed the threat the dogs posed and there was no objection to a destruction order for Blue but the defence’s expert had concluded Haze posed no threat to the public.
However, magistrates ordered the destruction of both dogs and banned Nikai from keeping animals for 18 months.
He was made subject to an 18-month community order with 20 hours rehabilitation activity and 160 hours unpaid work, and ordered to pay a total of £500 compensation.