A police dog has suffered a punctured lung after being stabbed during an armed offenders call out in the early hours of this morning.
Northland police dog Gus was protecting his handler when he was knifed during the incident west of Whangarei, police said.
He has now been flown to Auckland with his handler for emergency veterinary treatment, and is expected to survive his injuries.
Police had been called to an address in Parakao late yesterday afternoon after reports of a 37-year-old man in an agitated state carrying a knife and possibly a firearm.
When police and the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) surrounded the property he stole a quad bike from a nearby house and made off. He later ran on foot after police gave chase.
AOS and the police dog handler tracked the man through thick bush, finally locating him around 4am.
The man then attacked, first stabbing Gus and then attempting to stab his handler.
A struggle ensued before police managed to subdue and arrest the man.
Whangarei/Kaipara area commander Inspector Tracy Philips said staff were faced with a dangerous and fluid situation with an unpredictable offender.
"We had to track him across some difficult terrain in the dark,'' she said. "After Gus was stabbed, his handler and another officer had to carry him out through heavy bush and steep hills for more than a kilometre.''
Ms Phillips said the dog's bravery had saved officers from serious injury.
The AOS dog was trained to protect his handler, she said.
"He did just that and has paid the price, but thankfully he has survived,'' she said.
"Gus is very much a part of our police family and we feel for the dog handler who has witnessed his dog getting seriously injured.''