A man accused of trying to drown a Saskatoon police dog earlier this week has become the first person charged in the city under what’s referred to as “Quanto’s Law.”
Quanto, an Edmonton police dog, was stabbed to death while chasing down a suspect in October 2013. The animal’s death led to the passing of the Justice for Animals in Service Act two years later.
Saskatoon police Chief Troy Cooper told Gormley Wednesday the law allows for a person to face a separate charge if a law enforcement, military or service animal is harmed or killed while working.
“It’s recognition that those animals are trained to protect us and we use them as a tool and that we need to protect them as well when they’re trying to do their job,” Cooper said.
Late Monday night, Saskatoon police spotted a stolen Mercedes being driven near 11th Street West and Circle Drive.
Officers, with assistance from RCMP, followed the vehicle out to an area near Radisson where they used a spike belt to deflate the tires.
Police said the driver then allegedly got out and tried to run away. That’s when PSD Diesel got involved.
“When the dog tracked to (the suspect), he waded into a slough and threatened to kill the dog and when the dog tried to engage him, he attempted to drown the dog,” Cooper said.
Staff Sgt. Tim Failler, who oversees the Saskatoon police canine unit, spoke with Saskatchewan Afternoon host David Kirton and described what happened according to police accounts.
“(The suspect) was non-compliant with the dog and actually assaulted the dog. He then attempted to push it under the water and did, in fact, put it under the water,” he said.
Officers were able to arrest the man, who was then taken to hospital with minor injuries from a dog bite.
Along with counts of dangerous driving, robbery and possession of stolen property over $5,000, the man is also charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a police dog.
“This is the first time Saskatoon police have laid this charge,” Fallier said, adding the maximum sentence under Quanto’s Law is five years.
Fallier noted Diesel was assessed by a veterinarian and there were concerns as to whether the dog might have taken in water.
Diesel is currently being monitored as he recovers at home with his handler, who is also dealing with the incident.
“That dog is like their partner, so we would obviously speak to the handler and ensure that they’re doing okay, as well as the dog,” Fallier said.