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Officers have seized an American Bully dog which savaged a veteran police horse in a park, as its owner insists the pet acted in self-defence after believing it was being attacked. 

Incredibly Hakan Niyazi, 24, claimed the ‘gentle’ dog called Coco had only reacted as she was ‘intimidated’ after encountering a horse for the first time when he took her out for a training session to socialise with other dogs at a park near his home.

Unrepentant Niyazi said the horse became ‘skittish’ when Coco approached it out of curiosity and then dog had then been ‘defending itself’ believing it was coming under attack. He now fears his pet, which was seized by officers, will be destroyed.

Shocking images captured by a passer-by showed the veteran horse called Urbane coming under a sustained attack while police later released images of the animal’s wounds.

The Met Police horse was pictured meeting the Queen Consort, Camilla, while she was Duchess of Cornwall in 2019.

Hakan Niyazi, pictured, claims his pet dog was acting in self-defence when it savaged a veteran police horse

Hakan Niyazi, pictured, claims his pet dog was acting in self-defence when it savaged a veteran police horse 

The American Bully dog called Coco (pictured) left the horse with multiple injuries and has now been seized by officers

The American Bully dog called Coco (pictured) left the horse with multiple injuries and has now been seized by officers 

PH Urbane, pictured here meeting the then-Duchess of Cornwall in 2019, was injured in the incident in Victoria Park

PH Urbane, pictured here meeting the then-Duchess of Cornwall in 2019, was injured in the incident in Victoria Park

Defiant Niyazi told MailOnline today that the incident in Victoria Park, Hackney, London, on Wednesday, has been ‘over exaggerated’.

He said: ‘My dog has believed the horse is trying to attack it and as a defence mechanism has kind of tried to stick up for itself.

‘Because it’s a police horse it has become over exaggerated.

‘The dog has been seized by the police. They are probably going to have it put down.’

Hakan’s brother, who declined to be named, added: ‘It’s a family pet. The dog is young – it is barely a year old. It is basically in training. It is by no means vicious to kids or other pets.

‘He has taken it to a public place to walk it and do a bit of training.

‘It is the first occasion of meeting a horse. It has approached the horse and the horse has got skittish and something has happened and as a result of it the dog has been seized.

‘It was an unfortunate set of circumstances. The dog had never seen a horse before. 

Veteran police horse PH Urbane, from Bow, was left with multiple injuries after the attack in Victoria Park

Veteran police horse PH Urbane, from Bow, was left with multiple injuries after the attack in Victoria Park

Officers from the Met thanked members of the public who tried to help the horse during the attack

Officers from the Met thanked members of the public who tried to help the horse during the attack 

‘Unfortunately it was a police horse. Because the dog obstructed a police officer on duty that’s why they’re going to take it more seriously. That’s why it was unfortunate.

‘Because the dog is young it was being trained. Sometimes the dog gets excited. It runs and it tries to socialise with other dogs.

‘There has never been one incident when it has attacked anyone. It has not attacked a kid or another dog.

What is the Dangerous Dogs Act? Which dogs are banned? And why is it controversial? 

WHAT IS THE DANGEROUS DOGS ACT?

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans or restricts certain types of dogs and makes it an offence to allow a dog of any breed to be dangerously out of control.

It was introduced 30 years ago by Home Secretary Kenneth Baker ‘to rid the country of the menace of these fighting dogs’ after a string of attacks.

WHICH DOGS ARE BANNED IN THE UK?

It is illegal to own four breeds of dogs without an exemption from a court. They are:

  • American pitbull terriers
  • Japanese tosas
  • Dogo Argentinos
  • Fila Brazileiro  

The law also criminalises cross-breeds of the above four types of dog – meaning that whether a dog is prohibited will depend on a judgement about its physical characteristics and whether they match the description of a prohibited ‘type’.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE’S A DOG ATTACK?

You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months if your dog is dangerously out of control. 

You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.

If you let your dog injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to five years or fined. If you deliberately use your dog to injure someone you could be charged with ‘malicious wounding’.

And if you allow your dog to kill someone you can be sent to prison for up to 14 years or get an unlimited fine. 

WHY IS THE ACT CONTROVERSIAL? 

Both the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the British Veterinary Association have protested against the ban, insisting there is no scientific evidence that all individuals of a breed are dangerous.

However, Met Police data suggests that in incidents involving ‘dangerously out of control dogs’, banned breeds account for about a fifth of offences.

‘The size or a horse is one thing and the mannerism of a horse is another thing where the horse can get skittish when anything goes underneath their legs.

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‘The dog has seen something completely new, not knowing it’s a police horse, and the horse has started flicking its legs about.’

The brothers live in a housing association flat just yards from Victoria Park in Hackney, east London where the incident happened.

Despite their claims neighbours said they had raised concerns over anti-social behaviour’ and insisted that tenants were not allowed to keep dogs without special permission.

A sign in the window of the brother’s ground floor flat, which backs on to the Hertford Union Canal, warns passers-by: ‘Beware. Wild animal Inside.

But Hakan’s brother added: ‘How are you supposed to train the dog if you don’t ever give it a chance to be off the lead?

‘It’s sad to see. The dog is not vicious at all. It looks big but it is more like a show dog than anything else. It is protective of the house but it’s never been used as a guard dog or anything. It’s a family pet.

‘My brother has got a two-year-old and it’s never been a problem. The dog licks their face and everything.

‘The dog is a Bully. It’s not a pit bull but it looks kind of big.

‘By no means are they a banned breed. They are not a dangerous dog breed. It is not a vicious dog.

‘He lives right near the park and he needs to train it. Where would you walk your dog to train your dog? You’re going to obviously take it into the public park into the open, take it off the lead and try to train the dog.

‘If you go there on any day there are dogs off a lead. You can see dogs run over to other dogs. It’s a place where you socialise your dog so that when it does grow up it doesn’t become vicious become it’s become unsocialised.’

Pictures released today showed PH Urbane with several open wounds covering his legs and torso.

Footage from yesterday showed officers screaming for the dog to be put on a lead as members of the public intervened, with one man using a long stick to try to get the animal away from Urbane.

The owner also accused the have-a-go-hero witness who used a long stick to keep the dog at bay of being ‘rude’, telling the Sun: ‘I was so angry at the time. He said I didn’t do nothing. I tried.

‘I reciprocate energy. If you’re rude to me I will be rude back to you. He was angry. He was swearing, being rude. I was trying my hardest.’ 

The Met Police revealed that the horse, whose partner collapsed and died at Notting Hill Carnival in 2022, had now been to the vet and was having some ‘well-earned recuperation’.

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 Officers shared the images and gave ‘huge thanks’ to the heroic witnesses who ‘tried to help Urbane’ from being attacked.

They added: ‘He will hopefully be back on duty as soon as he has fully recovered but not before.’

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: ‘On Wednesday 22 March a dog was seized in Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, after it attacked a police horse.

‘The horse required stitches and is expected to return to duty following its recovery.

‘The dog remains in police kennels and officers are in contact with its owner.

‘No arrests have been made. Enquiries continue.’

Video of the incident showed chaotic scenes in Victoria Park, Hackney, on Wednesday as the attack took place

Video of the incident showed chaotic scenes in Victoria Park, Hackney, on Wednesday as the attack took place

In the footage officers can be heard shouting at the dog's owner to get it on a lead and under control

In the footage officers can be heard shouting at the dog’s owner to get it on a lead and under control

The attack came months after PH Urbane's partner, PH Sandown, tragically collapsed and died at last year's Notting Hill Carnival (pictured)

The attack came months after PH Urbane’s partner, PH Sandown, tragically collapsed and died at last year’s Notting Hill Carnival (pictured)

James McNally, who has been dubbed Britain’s ‘dog bite solicitor’ and a personal injury claim expert with Slee Blackwell Solicitors, has previously said he had seen a rise in the number of dog bite claims in recent years.

Earlier this year he told MailOnline how he had more than 180 clients and his inbox was ballooning with fresh enquiries every day.

Mr McNally said: ‘Some of the worst injuries we’re seeing are by those beloved household pets; Collies, Jack Russells, Huskies. Any dog can cause injury at any time.

‘We’ve had a lady who lost the tip of her nose, delivery drivers missing fingers. There are cases we’re dealing with where a child has been scalped by the dog and suffered serious facial injuries – they’re all horrible.

‘In a lot of the cases we’re seeing, the way I see it is that it’s the family dogs.

‘I think the pandemic puppy boom has probably contributed to the rising number of dog bites, experts have raised huge concerns about puppy farms and I think a lot of us are just not aware of this entire world of dog breeding.

‘Ultimately, it’s a bit of a Wild West out there. We had the wrong dogs, being bred by the wrong people, going to the wrong homes.

‘It’s a recipe for disaster and was fuelling the fire.’

The number of dog attacks has prompted some to call for a revamp on the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 – legislation which saw a blanket ban imposed on four specific ‘fighting-style’ breeds in the UK; the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasiliero.

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