London riots: Police dog suffered fractured skull
- 15 August 2011
- From the section London
A Metropolitan Police dog is recovering after suffering a fractured skull when rioters pelted officers with missiles in north London.
Obi, a three-year-old German shepherd, was on frontline duties in Tottenham on 6 August when he was injured.
His handler, PC Phil Wells, said they came under "heavy bombardment" with bottles, bricks and petrol bombs being thrown, and a brick hit Obi.
PC Wells said Obi had been signed off until he fully recovers.
Riot officers were called to Tottenham High Road when trouble flared following a peaceful march in protest at the fatal shooting by police of Mark Duggan.
PC Wells said: "We were on a stationary point when we came under heavy bombardment.
"There were lots of missiles coming at us, bottles, bricks, petrol bombs, street furniture, too many to count and one hit Obi on the top of the head."
PC Wells checked the dog over, who he said seemed fine, and they stayed on duty for several hours.
But afterwards it became clear he needed veterinary treatment.
"He was lethargic and was bleeding from the left nostril which could be a sign of head trauma so he was taken to the vets and assessed," said PC Wells.
He was transferred to The Queen's Veterinary School Hospital in Cambridge for a CT scan which showed he had a fractured skull above the left eye socket.
Obi has lived in Surrey with PC Wells, his wife Laura and two children since he was a puppy.
The officer said it was very emotional to see him lying injured at the vets.
"Although he is not a pet - he is a working dog - when he is at home it is family time and he is part of our family.
"To see your best friend and work colleague get injured while at work is difficult but he is getting a lot support from everyone and he will be back fighting fit."
He said all eight dogs in his unit on duty in Tottenham High Road that night suffered cut paw pads from broken glass and debris and some suffered cuts and broken teeth.