The owner of a pit bull bit a policeman after his dog ran away during a confrontation with officers, daily Diario de Noticias reported on Tuesday.

Two policemen stopped the dog owner for walking the animal without a leash and a muzzle on Sunday in Cova da Moura -- a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Lisbon.

The man threatened the officers with his dog, but the animal bolted leaving the 35-year-old to grapple with both policemen. The owner bit one of the policemen on the wrist while the other suffered a broken finger in the scuffles, the newspaper reported.

The owner is under house arrest while police are still looking for the pit bull, according to the daily.

Portuguese authorities are cracking down on what they call "dangerous" dogs after four rottweilers mauled a 60-year-old woman to death last month.

While not necessarily dangerous, pit bulls are sometimes used by gang members to intimidate and in dog fights.