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A police officer who fought and subdued a violent car thief with the help of his dog has praised the animal's bravery.
Despite being hit, strangled and even bitten by Trevor McKenzie, PD Gino refused to give up and eventually the prolific crook was arrested.
His handler, PC Nigel Weston, said he had "no doubt" that McKenzie was trying to kill Gino in his attempts to get away.
Gino was awarded West Midlands Police's Police Dog Action of the Year prize yesterday.
PC Weston said:
There’s no doubt in my mind McKenzie was trying to kill Gino. He lashed out repeatedly at the dog and even bit him on the neck.
Gino demonstrated complete courage and determination to protect me and keep the offender at the scene until back-up arrived.
[McKenzie] ignored my calls to stand still and tried climbing a fence, but Gino grabbed hold of a leg and pulled him down.
He grabbed hold of Gino’s neck collar and twisted it in an attempt to strangle him - I could hear the dog choking but he refused to let go.
I struck him several times but he continued lashing out – he was in a frenzied state and it later emerged he was high on drink and drugs.
A heroic hound has been named West Midlands Police's top dog for helping pin down a violent car thief who ran over two pedestrians after stealing a car.
High on drink and drugs, repeat offender Trevor McKenzie strangled, hit and even bit Gino the German shepherd in a frenzied bid to escape.
But Gino refused to back down and dragged the 29-year-old crook down to the ground as he tried to climb a six-foot fence.
His handler, PC Nigel Weston, was also assaulted as they tried to arrest McKenzie, of Carlton Avenue, Handsworth, as they waited for back-up.
McKenzie was later charged with aggravated vehicle taking and assaulting a police officer. He was jailed at Birmingham Crown Court on November 2 last year for a total of 27 months and handed a four-year drive ban.
PC Weston and PD Gino received their awards at an awards ceremony yesterday.
A specialist dog handler has been named West Midlands Police's Dog Handler of the Year after a string of achievements in recent months.
PC Suzanne Cheek helped coordinate the police dog response to the 2011 summer riots - and was among the officers who had petrol bombs thrown at them and were shot at.
PC Cheek made West Midlands policing history last October when she became the first woman to achieve the national police dog instructors badge.
The 36-year-old has also retired her former crime-fighting pal, PD Beau, and welcomed new recruit PD King to the force, having trained him since he was a puppy.
The first woman to become a police dog training instructor in the West Midlands has been named Dog Handler of the Year by her force.
PC Suzanne Cheek, with her dog PD King, made history in October last year after achieving the certificate allowing her to train future handlers.
She has now been honoured with West Midlands Police's Dog Handler of the Year prize.