OTTAWA, ONTARIO CANADA - A ROTTWEILER BULLMASTIFF MIX WAS SHOT BY AN OFFICER AFTER IT BOLTED OUT A DOOR AHEAD OF ITS CARETAKER AND ATTACKED A MAN HOLDING A BABY
Police say an officer put four bullets into a dog after it attacked a man holding a baby in a Sandy Hill park then turned toward the fallen child.
But the owner of the dead dog is asking why non-lethal measures weren’t tried, and is offering a different version of the Friday night incident.
Patsy Stevens said the whole thing transpired so quickly she’s still trying to piece it all together.
She knows her son’s dog, Lance, a three-year-old ROTTWEILER/BULLMASTIFF MIX, broke free from her control, ran to a packed public park and grabbed onto a piece of a man’s clothing. She said the dog wasn’t acting like his usual self. But, she alleges she wasn’t given a chance to get the animal back under control before a police officer opened fire and put it down.
“It just all happened so fast,” said Stevens. “I had to ask the police, ‘Was this really necessary?’ And the police said, ‘Ma’am, this isn’t like Hollywood.'”
Police say the incident began shortly before 7 p.m. on Wiggins Private, near Mann Avenue and Chapel Street, when the dog slipped off its leash and attacked a man holding a child.
“The dog jumped at the man, who moved to act as a shield for the child,” said Staff-Sgt. Frank D’Aoust.
The man was bitten on the buttocks and the hand, and the baby fell to the ground, police say.
A constable on patrol came upon the scene and “noticing the dog turn towards the boy, attempted to distract the dog and placed himself in between the dog and the victim” police said in a statement.
Police said the dog’s apparent owner tried to collar the animal but was unsuccessful.
The dog made a movement toward the child on the ground and the officer fired four times, hitting the dog with each shot, according to police.
The man did not appear to be seriously injured but was taken to the Civic campus of the Ottawa Hospital for treatment.
The baby boy suffered a bruise to his forehead from the fall.
Stevens said Lance had been cooped up all day in her family’s home in the 200 block of Wiggins Private. Stevens home is across the street from a basketball court which has a large communal area where Lance would go for walks.
The area was busy Friday night, with between 25 and 30 people there, according to witnesses.
When Stevens opened the door, Lance bolted toward the park. The dog was too big for her to hold back, weighing well more than 100 pounds. It ran toward the people and, according to Stevens, that’s when one man in particular began to scream.
According to Stevens, the screams attracted the animal. A police cruiser was passing by just as Lance got to the park. According to Stevens, the officer slammed on the brakes and leapt from the car.
Stevens said she rounded the cruiser and saw what she describes as Lance tugging on a piece of the man’s clothing. The man was lying on the ground. Stevens said she wasn’t aware he was cradling a baby. The police officer immediately opened fire in the busy park, firing four bullets into the dog.
“He has never bit anyone before, but he is a hyper dog,” she said. “He hit him twice (with bullets) and Lance yelped so bad. Then came two more shots.”
Stevens said she wasn’t given the opportunity to try to calm Lance. She said she can’t understand why police didn’t deploy a Taser or other non-lethal measures, such as a baton.
She has been told Ottawa bylaw officers will be looking into the incident in the coming days.
Ottawa Staff-Sgt D’Aaoust also said that a review is “normally done” in any incident involving a police officer discharging a firearm.