A quiet, elderly lung cancer patient has died after being attacked in her Middlesbrough, Cleveland home in the UK by a police K-9. Daily Mail reported July 21.
Irene Collins, 73, answered a knock at her door by Cleveland Police last Wednesday night. Officers were searching for a suspected drug dealer in her garden area after fleeing from police when his vehicle was stopped.
Neighbor Claire Williams, who knew Irene, warned police that the elderly woman may be too sick and frail to come to the door.
Police ignored the neighbor and knocked anyway. Irene answered, and was leading the officers, along with their K-9 unit, through her kitchen to the back yard. The dog pounced as Irene led them to the garden, leaving her screaming and covered in blood.
The dog, described as a cross between a springer spaniel and an alsatian, attacked her. After being treated at the scene she was taken to James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, where she later died.
One neighbor stated to The Daily Mail
“She wasn’t bitten, she was mauled. A relative told me the dog had punctured and broken her arm, ripped her other arm, and then managed to bite off her calf muscle after it had been restrained.”
Another neighbor described the attack
‘It was horrible, everyone could hear her screaming right across the street. It was a shock to see her. She had blood across her face, and she was grey with shock. The police dog handler had searched my house earlier and he was in tears. He looked devastated by what happened.’
Cleveland Police have also issued a statement to media
“The police dog involved has been withdrawn from operational policing activities and support is being provided to the police officer who was handling the dog at the time of the event. We are committed to learning any lessons that may arise from the investigation and the daily use of police dogs remains operationally important in reducing crime and disorder and protecting the public. Our dogs are trained and licensed for use in accordance with national police guidance.”
Irene, who was widowed 30 years ago, had lived in the house for more than 60 years. She was known and loved for the charity work she performed for her community.
Police say they’re sorry. An independent board is investigating the tragedy, and the dog has been taken off the job. No word on whether the dog has been destroyed is available at this time.