Teenager may lose leg after bitten by police dog

A teenager may lose his leg after being bitten by a police dog during an arrest early on Thursday morning, his family says.

Tristan Abraham, 17, was facing burglary, theft and driving charges when he was granted bail in Palmerston North District Court on Wednesday, the Manawatu Standard reported today.

When police did a curfew check at his bail address later that night, Abraham was not there.

Abraham was tracked to property in the early hours of Thursday morning, set upon by a police dog and arrested.

He appeared before a Justice of the Peace in a bedside court hearing at Palmerston North Hospital later that day on a charge of burglary.

He was remanded in custody until next Tuesday on all charges and last night was still in hospital under police guard.

Family members said doctors had told them Abraham may have his lower leg amputated as a result of his injuries.

His fate will be decided on Saturday.

Uncle and legal guardian Darren Marsh said Abraham was unarmed and had complied with the handler's instructions to come out from his hiding place and did not deserve the injuries he sustained.

However, Palmerston North police area commander Inspector Pat Handcock said Abraham was armed with a piece of wood and refused to budge, despite repeated attempts by the handler.

A claw hammer was later found on him, Mr Handcock said.

"Sometimes we have to use force to apprehend someone and injuries occur. It's not something we want to happen."

The family said the dog was not called off and that the ensuing fracas prompted a neighbour to aid the teenager.

The matter has been referred to the Police Complaints Authority to investigate.

- NZPA

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