Being choked just part of job for top dog

Loui was unconscious when handler fired warning shot to stop offender's attack, police say

Police dog Loui doesn't give up easily when he's on the case, say officers. Photo / Supplied
Police dog Loui doesn't give up easily when he's on the case, say officers. Photo / Supplied

A police dog known for his determination to get his man was back at work yesterday, days after being throttled by a man police were trying to catch.

Loui, who had cuts and bruises after the skirmish near Hamilton on Thursday, has apprehended hundreds of criminals during his seven years on duty.

Sergeant Mark Sandford of Waikato police dog section said Loui, who works with the Armed Offender Squad, "doesn't give up easy".

"He's one of the best police dogs I've ever seen. He has a huge work ethic.

"One of his proven traits is when he is tracking he just keeps hunting until he gets them."

It was this effort which almost cost the German shepherd his life when he caught up to 31-year-old Alex Tereora.

Tereora was one of two men being sought by police after a high-speed pursuit from Cambridge to Tamahere on the southern outskirts of Hamilton, where police laid road spikes.

Police said Tereora and and 34-year-old John Koteka fled in their Holden Commodore car when officers signalled them to stop near Cambridge.

Police abandoned the pursuit when it reached speeds of 180km/h, but seconds later the car hit the road spikes and crashed.

Despite being injured, Tereora was chased by Loui and two dog handlers to a nearby trucking yard where he allegedly assaulted an officer before fleeing again, with the police dog close behind.

Hamilton City area commander Greg Nicholls said that moments later Loui's handler came around a corner to find the dog being choked.

The handler, who has not been identified, fired a warning shot into the air and Tereora fled.

When Loui, who had passed out, regained consciousness he leaped back into action, helping his handler to arrest the offender, police said.

Mr Sandford said Loui got a couple of days off to recover from the assault, and was given anti-inflammatory drugs by a vet.

But other than a little TLC, "it was all in a day's work really", Mr Sandford said.

He said Loui was a highly regarded police dog whose career included several hundred tracking successes.

Most notably he tracked and found a group of thieves in Paeroa who had a 40-minute head start when they stole and then ditched a car and guns.

He once found a culprit hiding beneath a trapdoor in a house and who otherwise wouldn't have been found, and apprehended a man hiding in the basement of a house containing a meth lab. The man also had a gun.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority is overseeing an investigation into the pursuit and the police dog handler's decision to fire the warning shot.

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