Belfast Telegraph

Dark feeling lot brighter after being hurt in riot

BY MARIA MARSELLA

Meet Dark – the police dog who is recovering well after falling victim to fierce rioting.

The public order dog was among the PSNI casualties when serious violence erupted in Belfast city centre on Friday night.

The animal needed seven stitches in his front leg after being struck by an iron grating.

A total of 56 officers were injured in the serious disorder which erupted when loyalists staged a demonstration against a republican march through the city centre.

The PSNI says Dark was deliberately targeted by rioters when he was struck by the grating while on duty.

A number of police dogs were working on Friday night when grates were ripped up and hurled at police lines.

Dark was the only dog to suffer injuries.

The PSNI has a team of around 60 dogs which it uses in various operations including drug searches and in keeping public order.

During the flag protests, dogs were used seven times.

Detective Superintendent Sean Wright spoke of the ferocity of the rioting Dark was injured in.

"If people think for one moment that this is just a wee bit of recreational rioting – 'let's go out and throw a few bricks at police for a bit of sport' – it's far from sport," he said.

"This really could result in police or other members of the public being killed. And we will deal with that robustly."

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