A man who set his dog on police officers when they tried to arrest him has been locked up after ‘Tyson’ left his then-partner with significant injuries.

Matthew Graham called the dog, making a series of ‘ouch’ noises knowing that it would immediately attempt to protect him from a perceived attack.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the dog came running into the room and became aggressive when the 26-year-old started making the fake noises as if he was being attacked.

Anthony Pettengell, prosecuting, said Graham told the officers that Tyson would savage anyone who tried to harm him.

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He said: “He shouted ‘Tyson’ and the dog came running down the stairs, he then started making sounds such as ‘ouch and ow’ and the dog’s demeanour noticeably changed.

“The dog lunged at them and bit the defendant’s partner on the leg. Officers hit the dog with their batons to get the dog to release its grip.

“It took several hits to get it off.”

The court heard how the woman suffered significant injuries to her leg, particularly to her calf as a result of the dog’s attack on June 30 last year.

Mr Pettengell said the specialist police officer who assessed the dog said it was the owner’s behaviour which resulted in the attack but recommended that it be castrated and muzzled when outside rather it being put down.

Graham, of no fixed abode but formerly from the east Middlesbrough and east Cleveland area, pleaded guilty to a charge of having a dog dangerously out of control causing injury.

He disputed the prosecution’s case at Teesside Magistrates’ Court and a Newton hearing took place before the bench agreed with the Crown Prosecution Service’s version of events.

Andrew Turton, mitigating, his client had poor consequential thought processes and had sorted out his drug addiction since the incident.

He said: “He is now free of heroin and has been for 12-months and he has reduced his use of methadone (heroin substitute) to nil in that time as well.”

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Judge Anthony James Brown told Graham that the offence to too serious to warrant anything other than immediate custody.

He said: “You set this dog on people in your home resulting in your then partner suffering significant injuries.

“You used the dog as a weapon, when you were being arrested, you called for the dog and you knew it would react that way.”

Graham was sentenced to 26 months in prison and the judge followed the recommendation of the police ordered that it be castrated and muzzled whenever it was outside.