Police dog seriously injured in London riots to receive special animal bravery award A Metropolitan Police dog which suffered a fractured skull while on duty during this summer's London riots is to receive a special animal bravery award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at the House of Lords. Three-year-old German Shepherd Obi, a police dog based at West Drayton Police Station in Middlesex, was on frontline duties alongside handler PC Phil Wells in Tottenham in August when they came under heavy bombardment from bottles, bricks, street furniture and petrol bombs thrown by rioters.
Obi was hit by a missile, thought to be a brick, above his left eye. After passing an initial check, he continued to work for several hours, but it later became clear he was injured when blood was noticed trickling from his left nostril. He was then taken to a vet for assessment and transferred to the Queen's Veterinary Hospital in Cambridge where a CT scan revealed a fracture to his skull above the left eye socket.
After being signed off work to allow for a full recovery, Obi took a well-deserved rest at home before returning to lighter duties. Earlier this week, after a final check, he was cleared to return to full duties. Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said:
"We are delighted to be able to highlight the amazing service given by police dogs such as Obi. We were relieved to hear he has made a good recovery and he is a truly rewarding winner of our special Animal Bravery Award." Obi will receive his award at IFAW's prestigious Animal Action Awards ceremony, hosted by Baroness Gale, at the House of Lords on October 18. PC Wells will accompany Obi to the ceremony. PC Wells (30), said:
"It was quite humbling to hear that Obi was to receive this award, in the same way that the public responded in the aftermath of the riots and came out to thank us. It's really nice to have the work recognised and while Obi received a lot of attention, we are just one of many dog teams who go out on the streets every day. Obi has been keen to get back to work; he didn't like being left at home when I set off on my own as he loves it." Commander Simon Pountain, in overall charge of the dog section, said:
"I am really pleased that one of our dog handlers and his dog have been honoured in this way. This is a wonderful accolade for all the dog section, and I am extremely proud of all the tremendous work they do." Obi has lived with PC Wells, his wife Laura and two children in Surrey since he was a puppy and will stay with them as a pet when his working life ends. All eight police dogs working in his unit on the same night in Tottenham High Road suffered some degree of injury, from cut paw pads from broken glass and debris, to cuts to the body and broken teeth.