Calgary, AB,

Off-duty Canine Incident

The Calgary Police Service is assessing an incident where a child was bitten by an off-duty police dog in training.

At approximately 1:40 p.m., yesterday, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, an off-duty CPS Canine Unit officer was at home with his Police Service Dog (PSD) in training. The officer was grooming the dog on his deck in his fenced backyard, at which time the handler’s young son came onto the deck and was bitten by the dog.

The off-duty officer secured the dog and the child was taken to hospital with serious injuries. The child has since been released from hospital and the PSD in training has been moved to the CPS kennels.

The CPS is providing support to the member and his family.

“We are very concerned for our member and his family who were involved in this incident,” says Inspector Nancy Farmer of the CPS Support Section. “While we take this incident very seriously, it is important to recognize the vital role that our Police Service Dogs play in the Calgary Police Service. These animals require a high level of socialization, and being at home with their handlers during their time off is critical to developing a strong bond between the dog and their officer.”

The CPS Canine Unit consists of 22 PSDs that are specially trained for patrol duty, drug detection, explosive detection or cadaver detection. Housing PSDs at home with their handlers during time off is standard practice for police canine units internationally, and the CPS has been engaging in this practice since 1960 when the CPS Canine Unit was established. Spending time with the PSDs while at home strengthens the bond between the dog and the handler, allows for integral socialization skills to be developed and also enables the officer and PSD to be operationally ready if required. While concerning, an event such as this is considered to be extremely rare.

The Service is launching a thorough examination of this incident. The Director of Law Enforcement has also been notified, however will not be investigating. Calgary Community Standards is also being engaged to conduct a separate review of the incident.