Dog put down after owner forced it to attack police

The pit bull believed to be Yoza.
The pit bull believed to be Yoza. Photo credit: Mattathais Jim Johns

A dog owner has been jailed and his animal put down after he ordered it to attack police officers.

Police received reports of screaming coming from an address in Hawera, Taranaki, in March where 23-year-old Mattathais Jim Johns resided.

Johns, who claims online to be "black power at taranaki n**gas, hustler at my coin [sic]", owned several dogs, including a large pit bull named Yoza.

When the police arrived, they asked Johns' partner if she was OK.

Johns - who claims on his Facebook that "real men don't hit women" - is said to have become infuriated. He grabbed his dog, lifted it off the ground, and shouted at it to "bite the c****", the summary of facts read.

When warned he would be arrested, he released the pit bull. Police were then forced to pepper spray the animal.

Johns was very unhappy at this, and challenged the police officers - who then pepper sprayed him too.

Pursued by a constable, Johns fled inside his house before repeatedly commanding Yoza to attack him.

The dog then launched at the officer, biting his arm, leg and hands, until another constable managed to get into the house and help.

The injured officer was taken to hospital, where he spent three days recovering.

On Wednesday, Johns was jailed for two years and 10 months on a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Yoza was put down by the council.