AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a police dog bit and seriously injured a burglar during his arrest.
Spud, a five-year-old Rottweiler, pounced on 35-year-old career burglar Carl Lazenby as he was hiding in a garden.
Sheffield Crown Court heard that Lazenby later complained to the Independent Police Complaints Commission after nearly losing his arm.
He appeared in the dock with his right arm heavily bandaged more than two months after the incident.
Lazenby’s barrister Peter Hampton said he had lost three tendons in his fingers and would never have the use of his right hand again.
Mr Hampton said: “A consultant warned him the arm could be lost completely. Fortunately that has not been the case.”
He said there had been previous complaints against Spud. It is not known whether the dog is still performing his duties or whether he has been suspended.
Elizabeth Martin, prosecuting, said Lazenby was arrested after an alarm went off when he forced a patio door at a home in Gleadless, Sheffield.
The police were called and found Lazenby walking down nearby Oak Road with a bag.
He ran off into a garden and Spud and his handler were called to search for him.
Lazenby was eventually found hiding in another garden and, when challenged, escaped over a garage roof but was caught by Spud.
Mrs Martin said he suffered serious injuries during the arrest and had complained about the dog.
It emerged Lazenby had stolen a woman’s handbag containing bank cards and a purse during the break-in and had also attempted to burgle the house next door.
Lazenby told police his benefits had been stopped and he had no money to buy food.
“Having nothing to lose, he decided burglary was the best option,” said Mrs Martin.
Lazenby, of Fairleigh, Manor, admitted burglary and an attempted burglary in August.
His criminal career began at the age of 13. He has been convicted of 13 house burglaries and asked for another 17 to be considered over the years.
He was released from his latest jail term in April this year, but his licence was revoked in August after his latest arrest.
Mr Hampton said his mitigation for Lazenby was “unusual and exceptional” after justice had already been “meted out” by Spud.
Lazenby had part of his fingers missing after surgery and had a wound to his right forearm. He was kept in hospital for four days following the incident.
He had lost three tendons in his fingers, needed skin grafts and was having to learn to write with his left hand.
Judge Alan Goldsack, the Recorder of Sheffield, said he would bear the injuries in mind when passing sentence, along with his benefits being withdrawn and his efforts to get off drugs.
But the judge told Lazenby: “None of these factors can excuse this further serious offending by you.”
Lazenby was jailed for three years and four months by the judge, with the sentence starting immediately.
An IPCC spokesman said: “We have received a complaint which in accordance with normal procedure is being forwarded to the relevant police force.
“If the complainant is not happy with the way the complaint is dealt with he has the right to appeal to the IPCC.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “We have received a complaint about a police dog biting a man when he was arrested.
“This is in the early stages of being investigated.”