Man arrested after police dog dies following search of water at country park

A police dog has died after entering the water to search for a suspect at a country park in Leicestershire.

Officers said a man wanted by Nottinghamshire Police was detained on suspicion of attempted murder at Watermead Country Park in Birstall, near Leicester, on Wednesday, before being further arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty.

The dog, named by the Leicestershire force as PD Zyla, was confirmed dead after being taken to a vet on Wednesday afternoon.

A statement issued by Leicestershire Police said officers were responding to a report that a man, who was wanted by the Nottinghamshire force, may have been in the area.

Police dog Zyla
Police Dog Zyla died after entering the water during a search operation (Leicestershire Police/PA)

The statement added: “As part of our response to the incident, a police dog was also deployed to assist with the search.

“The suspect made off from officers before entering the water in Watermead Park.

“The police dog became unresponsive after it also entered the water and was taken to a vet where it was confirmed they had sadly died.

“Following a continued search of the surrounding area, the suspect, a 27-year-old man, was located in the park and arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and subsequently arrested on suspicion of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

“He remains in police custody.”

An investigation is ongoing to establish the full circumstances of the dog’s death, while the attempted murder inquiry is being led by Nottinghamshire Police.

Detective Inspector Claire Hughes said: “This is an extremely sad incident that has resulted in the death of one of our police dogs.

“Colleagues are supporting the dog’s handler at this understandably difficult time and our investigation to establish what happened is ongoing.

“We would like to speak to anyone who may have any information at all relating to this incident and has not as yet spoken to police to get in touch.”

Leicestershire’s Chief Constable Rob Nixon said: “Our police dogs are an integral part of Team Leicestershire playing a crucial critical role in some of our most dangerous operations.

“Zyla died in the line of duty and will always be remembered for her bravery, her dedication and her service.

“My thoughts remain with Zyla’s handler and all those who have been impacted. Yesterday’s events are a stark reminder of the inherent dangers associated with policing and I want to extend a massive thank you to all the officers who assisted during the incident.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting incident 293 of July 3.