When police officers respond to calls, they sometimes have to deal with risk from attackers, even the four-legged kind — a male RNC officer was bitten by a dog during an arrest in Conception Bay South on Sunday morning.
The injury happened as police were attempting to arrest a 29-year-old man in connection with a domestic disturbance. The accused was arrested for assault, resisting arrest and breaches of court orders.
However, it’s not likely any action will be taken against dog owner regarding the attack, Const. James Cadigan confirmed Monday.
“It seems the dog was inside the home safely and as a result of the incident, the dog was able to get involved,” he said. “Essentially, there was no Dog Act breach. The dog wasn’t required to be tethered.
“We don’t expect a dog to react (in a tame way) in a situation like that, where police are arresting someone inside a home,” Cadigan said. “We can’t anticipate what it will do.”
Since Jan. 1, the RNC has received 18 animal calls on the Northeast Avalon, 15 of which were dog-related.
“We’re officers of animal control as well, so we do investigate matters involving animals,” he said. “We wear all the hats.”
When there’s a complaint about an animal, police work with town and city staff to gather as much information as possible.
“It’s something we try to address to keep the community safe,” he said.
According to Section 14 of the Dog Act, a person guilty of an offence under the act is liable to a fine of at least $200. If payment is not received, an owner can be jailed for up to three months.
If the dog is deemed dangerous and a risk to the community, a police officer can bring the case forward in court to request that the animal be destroyed.
Cadigan said officers must conduct extensive investigations before laying charges against dog owners or reaching that kind of conclusion. It must be proven that the dog is a serious threat to people’s safety.
“In those situations, you’re dealing with dogs that might have bitten several people,” said Cadigan, adding that the owner would be held responsible.
The officer who was bitten Sunday was treated in hospital for minor injuries and released shortly afterward.
“There were no further issues,” Cadigan said.