By Anna Edwards
A brave police dog whose skull was fractured when thugs threw bricks, bottles and petrol bombs at him during the riots continued to patrol the streets for two hours, despite blood dripping from his head.
German Shepherd Obi, 3, was badly wounded when he was struck just above his left eye when he and his handler PC Phil Wells were targeted by a violent crowd on Tottenham High Road.
But, despite blood pouring from his left nostril and in shock, the working dog soldiered on to help police try and contain the rioters who ransacked North London - despite later needing a CT scan for his injury.
Real life Lassie: Police dog Obi suffered a fractured skull when thugs threw bricks at him
PC Wells, who has cared for Obi since the dog was just an eight-week-old puppy, described he and his dog came under siege by remorseless thugs who deliberately targeted his 'best friend and closest colleague'.
'Obi is trained in public order, and that may be dispersing a crowd or pushing them back. We were on a stationary point when we came under heavy bombardment,' he said.
'There were lots of missiles coming at us, bottles, bricks, petrol bombs, street furniture, too many to count and one hit Obi on the top of the head.
'Initially he was a bit shocked but I gave him a check-over and tried to avoid any further injuries and after the initial shock he seemed fine so we carried on for another couple of hours.'
'Afterwards he was assessed and was showing signs he needed veterinary help.
'He was lethargic and was bleeding from the left nostril which could be a sign of head trauma so he was taken to the vet.'
Determined to do his duty: PC Phil Wells says despite being in shock Obi carried on helping him to patrol the ransacked streets for two hours after being hit
The vet was worried about the Obi's injury and transferred him to the Royal Veterinary School in Cambridge for a CT scan.
'That showed he had a fractured skull above the left eye socket.'
Despite being signed off until he fully recovers, Obi's only outward sign of injury is a small shaved patch above his left eye where vets checked for bruising.
Constable Wells added: 'There is no definitive answer to when he is going to be back, it could be several months before the vet is happy he is fit to resume active duty. It is a case of taking it week by week.
'He is on medication so he is quite lethargic when usually he is a bouncy dog but hopefully with a bit of rest and recuperation he will be back to normal soon.'
Riot police encountered weapon-wielding thugs as they patrolled Tottenham
Police dogs were brought out to contain the violence that flared up in pockets of the country - and were the targets of thugs throwing missiles at them
Obi has lived in Surrey with Constable Wells, his wife Laura and children Abigail, seven, and Thomas, three, since he was eight weeks old and is seen as one of the family.
The officer said watching his dog lay on an operating table was a heartbreaking moment: 'Although he is not a pet - he is a working dog - when he is at home it is family time and he is part of our family.
'To see your best friend and work colleague get injured while at work is difficult but he is getting a lot support from everyone and he will be back fighting fit.
'I spend more time with Obi sometimes than with my children and family. When I am at work, he is at work and when I am at home, he is at home.
'He is my best friend and to see him get injured, to see him on a theatre table and you're not sure what has happened and you're not sure if it's touch and go, of course it is very emotional.'
PC Wells said he was shocked at the violence that flared, which left all of the eight dogs in his unit on Tottenham High Road with cut pads on their paws from the broken glass and debris on the street.
Some suffered severe cuts and broken teeth.
He added: 'I have never experienced stuff coming at us from all sides like that before.'