A playful police dog has been hailed a hero for disarming a drunken AXEMAN after he snatched the weapon out of his hands – when he mistook it for a TOY.
Rossi, a seven-year-old Belgian Shepherd, leapt 8ft in the air to grab the axe from boozy yob Adrian Dowdall, 36.
The pooch then chomped onto Dowdall’s arm to stop him getting away when his handler PC Matt Rogers ordered him to detain him.
Nottingham Crown Court heard Dowdall had downed 15 cans of lager before brandishing the weapon in a quiet residential street in Ollerton, Notts.
Judge Michael Stokes praised Rossi’s brave actions.
But PC Matt Rogers, Rossi’s handler at Nottinghamshire Police, said the dog probably believed Dowdall was trying to play with him.
He said: “He’s not trained to disarm he’s only trained to detain people.
“I think he thought it was a toy or something like that, he obviously didn’t perceive it as much of a threat.
“I don’t know what’s going on in his head sometimes.”
Thug Dowdall, from Boughton, Notts., was jailed for 160 days after pleading guilty to carrying a bladed article in public.
The court heard Dowdall grabbed the weapon from his house after being assaulted at a party at 5.15pm on November 24 last year and began waving it at terrified locals who dialled 999.
PC Rogers, who attended the scene with Rossi, said: “I saw a figure about 80 yards away in the street. He was shouting.
“He had something in his hand and as I am watching him I could tell it was an axe.
“He continued to move up the road in my direction.
“I identified myself as a police officer and challenged him to drop the axe.
“He made threats to harm the dog. He kept coming towards me and held it aloft in his right hand in a threatening manner.
“The dog has leapt up, taken hold of the axe, spat the axe out and detained the male by holding his left arm.
“I’ve then joined him. We had a bit of a roll around on the floor, with me and the dog.
“He’s resisting arrest, and eventually I’ve managed to handcuff him.
“When we arrived there were no signs of a disturbance.
“I was going to get out and have a quick look on my own, but because it was such a nice night I decided to get Rossi out to stretch his legs.
“It was only afterwards that I realised the gravity of the situation. It was quite a big axe.
“Rossi just loves the job so much that he sees no limits.
“Once we’d made the arrest that I noticed we’d had an audience with a number of residents having come out of their homes in their pyjamas to watch.
“This case just shows how effective and important police dogs can be.”
Rossi, a cross between a Belgian Shepherd and a Malinois, is set to retire in September.
PC Rogers, who has trained him since he was 14 months old, added: “He’s a big dog and has got a few health issues these days, but this job just shows he’s still got it in him.
“Once he retires I’ll be keeping him to make sure he’s looked after and given all the care he needs.”