Calgary, AB,

CPS Update: administrative review into off-duty canine incident

An administrative review into an incident involving an off-duty police dog has concluded. The review included testing of the dog, a Belgian Malinois, inquiries into the actions of the off-duty handler leading up to the dog biting a 12-year-old boy, and a review of Calgary Police Service procedures.

The incident on Wednesday, March 30, 2016, occurred around 6 p.m., when the dog broke free from the fenced yard of his handler in Aspen Hills, and encountered children playing in the street. One of the children ran from the dog, at which point the dog chased him into his nearby home and bit his leg. The boy’s father, who was in the home, attempted to get the dog off just as the Canine Unit handler ran in to the home to assist.

The handler secured the dog back at his home and returned to help render first aid to the child. The boy was transported to hospital where he was treated and released.

Following the incident, the dog was immediately removed from service and secured at the CPS kennels. As part of the administrative review, the dog was tested by supervisors of the Canine Unit with independent observation by officials with Calgary Community Standards.

The dog underwent socialization as well as obedience and control testing. In all cases, the dog tested above standards. He also completed a recertification, which is typically done on an annual basis, and tested above standards.

Despite the test results, the Service has determined that it is in the best interest of the dog and community to return the animal to the originating broker in the United States.

The performance of duty by the CPS handler remains under investigation in this case by the CPS Professional Standards Section. Once the bylaw matters have been concluded, the member’s conduct review will be completed under the Police Act. The handler currently remains in the Canine Unit.

The Service takes full responsibility for this incident and would like to reassure the public that every precaution is taken by the handlers to ensure these animals are in secure yards when at home. These animals require a high level of socialization when they are off duty and as part of the bonding with their handlers live in residential neighbourhoods. Police service dogs are a critical part of the CPS and help to keep Calgarians safe by tracking and helping to apprehend hundreds of offenders every year.

For additional details about the charges laid under the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw, please see an earlier press release from Calgary Community Standards.