A POLICE dog has been forced into retirement following an attack which left him frightened of meeting new people.

Max, a German Shepherd, worked across Lancashire helping his handler PC Jon Kelly trace burglars, find missing people and track down stolen property.

But the animal has now retired following five years of service.

While he was helping to catch two burglars, he was set on by a pit bull terrier, which bit his leg and neck, police said.

PC Kelly said: “I am heartbroken that Max's working life has been cut short by such a violent and horrific attack.

“Max was simply doing his job and without any reservation, if he had not been present, I would have sustained life-changing injuries should the pit bull have attacked me instead.

“As his handler, I was Max’s world. He was 100 per cent a one-man dog.

“He would never leave my side and was always desperate to please. and he was constantly checking to see where I was and if I was okay.

“We formed an extremely close bond, working together every day for five years. Max had worked on jobs including the EDL protest in Blackburn in 2011.

PC Kelly, who is hoping to raise money for the Retired Police Dogs Benevolent Fund, added: “His determination to find criminals who had fled from crime scenes or who were hiding or lying low in open spaces was phenomenal.”

Max is now living with one of PC Kelly’s colleagues, who had been a police dog handler for over 20 years.

For more information about the charity, visit www.retiredpolicedogs.co.uk