Valour Row

Police Dogs Killed in the Line of Duty

Edmonton Police Service Dog QUANTO Reg#9090
October 7, 2013

On October 7, 2013 PSD QUANTO and his handler, Cst Matthew WILLIAMSON, were called to the area of 90 St and 118 Av at approximately 0515hrs in regards to a stolen vehicle. A pursuit with this stolen vehicle began with the car heading south on 97 St, west on 111 Av, then north on 108 St before turning west onto a service road. On this service road the stolen vehicle struck the median, near a service station, was disabled and the driver fled on foot. The suspect refused to follow police direction to stop. As a result PSD QUANTO was deployed to apprehend the subject. The suspect was engaged by QUANTO in a parking lot near the RCMP K-Division building. During the apprehension the suspect stabbed QUANTO numerous times. The individual then dropped the knife and was taken into custody by police.  PSD QUANTO was rushed to an emergency veterinary clinic but sadly died from his wounds at approximately 0530hrs.
The suspect, Paul VUKMAVICH, 27 years was on a Canada Wide Warrant for his arrest for armed robbery. He will now face additional numerous charges including resist arrest and cruelty to animals.

QUANTO was a four year veteran of the EPS K9 Unit and was five years old at the time off his death. In his brief career QUANTO was responsible for over 100 arrests. He will be missed by his friend and handler, Matt WILLIAMSON, who had raised QUANTO from pup.

PSD HRAIN

PSD HRAIN

July 22nd 2006

RCMP Corporal Pierre Gardner and his partner PSD Hrain, a three-and-a-half-year-old German Shepherd Dog, had responded to a call about a twenty-five-year-old man, high on crystal meth, who had barricaded himself inside his house and was threatening to commit suicide. Gardner and Hrain made their way around to cover the back of the house, and as they reached the backyard, Hrain indicated on a track. Gardner noticed fresh footprints leading from the house into woods. 

The team followed the track for a bit, until Gardner began to sense that they were in danger. Although Hrain was eager to continue, Gardner decided to stop and wait for backup. Placing Hrain in a down, Gardner stood on the dog’s leash as he radioed for assistance. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew through the trees and Hrain bolted, yanking his leash out from under Gardner’s boot. Gardner called for Hrain to return, but the dog had disappeared into the forest. He heard a man shout somewhere in the woods - then an eerie silence. 

When their backup arrived and searched the house, they found the suspect hiding inside, a fresh dog bite on his leg. With the suspect now securely in custody, the officers turned their attention to finding the missing police dog - but the forest was dense and Hrain was nowhere to be found. 

The next day, a search and rescue party was dispatched to comb the woods. At 2:00pm, they discovered Hrain’s lifeless body, 150-feet from where his handler had stood calling for him. The post-mortem report concluded that the suspect had strangled Hrain with his collar before beating him to death. It was later determined that the suspect had been waiting in the woods, armed with a rifle – perhaps waiting for someone to come after him. 

Hrain was born in Europe on November 13, 2002 and graduated with Gardner on March 18, 2004. “Hrain was a hunter, and his strength was that he loved finding people,” recalled Gardner, adding that he believes Hrain instinctively sensed danger, and that his canine partner’s heroic actions ultimately saved his life. Ironically, Gardner’s former canine partner, PSD Branko, was also killed in the line of duty by a suicidal man on September 30, 1997.

 

PSD NITRO

PSD NITRO PSD NITRO

Jan 23, 2006

Constable Howard Rutter and his canine partner, PSD Nitro, were taking part in a training class on January 23, 2006, when they were called to assist in stopping a stolen car shortly after 10:00pm. As Rutter followed the vehicle from Vancouver into New Westminster, they came upon a railway crossing where traffic had come to a stop. Finding their path blocked by the passing freight train, the two suspects bailed out of their car and fled, running alongside the train as it slowed to a crawl. 

Nitro was sent to apprehend the fleeing suspects. Running full out, he quickly closed in on them. Realizing that the dog was gaining on him, one of the suspects turned and leapt onto the train. Nitro leapt after him, catching him by the leg, but the train suddenly lurched as it began to pick up speed and Nitro lost his grip. As Rutter watched from afar, his partner fell onto the tracks and beneath the wheels of the train. He was killed instantly. 

Born in Munroe, Washington in 1997, Nitro was named by the children of Vancouver during the department’s first “Name the Puppy” contest. Raised by Sergeant Gord McGuinness, Nitro was teamed with Rutter in 1999 and the two had been inseparable ever since. “He was not only a dog, he was my best friend,” Rutter said. The team had recently been nominated for the Vancouver Police Department’s Police Officer of the Year award. 

The eight-year-old German Shepherd Dog, who had begun to develop arthritis, was due to retire during the coming summer. He was the eighth Vancouver Police Dog to die in the line of duty. A public memorial service was held on February 6, 2006, and was attended by 400 officers from across Canada and the United States. Hundreds of civilians also came to pay their respects. Nitro’s ashes were to be scattered across Vancouver’s city limits, where tradition holds that he will continue to watch over the city for eternity. 

“We did absolutely everything together. To say that I’m going to miss him doesn’t begin to describe my feelings,” Rutter said. Constable Rutter remained with the Vancouver Police Dog Squad and was teamed with his new canine partner, PSD Ice, in December 2006.

 

PSD CYR

PSD CYR PSD CYR

May 20th, 2001

On the night of Sunday, May 20th, 2001, police arrived at the home of Keldon McMillan, a local homebuilder whose business had recently gone bankrupt. They meant to arrest him on firearms offences and serve him with an order barring contact with his wife because of a domestic dispute. They were especially concerned as McMillan had also threatened suicide, and had warned his wife there would be a shootout if police became involved. 

McMillan was not at home when police arrived, but he drove up to the house shortly afterwards. Seeing the police presence, he continued to drive down the street in an effort to avoid contact with them. When McMillan realized that unmarked police cruisers blocked his path, he accelerated across his lawn and fled onto the highway beyond. Considering him armed and dangerous, police pursed him. The high-speed chase continued out of the city and into the countryside. 

Almost 100 kilometres later, an RCMP spike belt finally put an end to McMillan’s flight outside of Wakaw, Saskatchewan - a farming community northeast of Saskatoon. McMillan then exited his vehicle and, firing shots into the air, proceeded to make his way along the side of the road and towards a field. Fearing for the safety of residents of a nearby farmhouse, officers had no choice but to stop him. 

When McMillan refused repeated commands to drop his gun and surrender, Police Service Dog Cyr, a five-year-old German Shepherd Dog, was sent to apprehend him. As the dog ran through the darkness towards him, McMillan raised his gun and fired twice. Undaunted despite his wounds, Cyr managed to latch onto the suspect before being shot a third time. McMillan then turned his gun on police, discharging one round before officers shot and killed him. 

Cyr died at the scene, in the arms of his handler, Constable Steve Kaye. He had served with Saskatoon Police since 1998. Known as a gentle dog, he was always popular with young students when he and his partner visited local schools. Cyr had also placed highly at the Canadian Police Canine Championship in 1999 and 2000. 

A memorial service honouring Cyr’s life was held in late May 2001. Over 300 mourners attended, including police dog handlers from across the country. 

The loss of Cyr prompted many heartfelt tributes from the community that he had served. An anonymous donor provided $10,000 so Saskatoon Police could purchase bulletproof vests for their dogs. A city park was renamed in Cyr’s honour. And a five-year-old boy donated his 18-month-old puppy, ‘Blue’, to Kaye, to be trained as a police dog. The pup was Cyr’s grandson. 

A national campaign to amend the Criminal Code was also launched, pushing for changes that would include penalties for harming or killing a police service animal in the line of duty. After years of hard work and repeated attempts at lobbying politicians, the requested changes have yet to be made. 

Kaye, who was later promoted to sergeant, now heads up the Saskatoon Police Service Canine Unit.   

PSD BANDIT

PSD BANDIT PSD BANDIT

June 25, 2000

On the morning of June 25, 2000, Corporal Rick Mosher and PSD Bandit, a four-year-old Belgian Malinois, attended a home in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia where a 22-year-old armed man was barricaded inside. The suspect, Ian Matthew MacDonald, was known to police and was believed to be a threat to officers. 

Several hours passed as Mosher and other officers guarded the house, waiting for the Emergency Response Team to arrive. During this time, MacDonald paced around the yard, shouting at police to go away and threatening to kill them. But before the ERT team arrived, MacDonald suddenly walked out of the yard and along the railway tracks towards a store. As officers on scene prepared to intercept the apparently unarmed man, Mosher and Bandit took up their position, blocking MacDonald’s path back to the house. Realizing that he was about to be ambushed, MacDonald turned and tried to run back home. As the officers closed in on him, Bandit grabbed MacDonald by the arm as he ran past. MacDonald fought to get away, but Bandit held fast, dragging the man around in circles. 

Mosher moved in to assist his dog – not realizing that MacDonald had pulled a knife from his sleeve. MacDonald swung the knife at Mosher’s face, but Bandit’s hold kept him from reaching the officer. Bandit, however, bore the brunt of the attack. Despite his wounds, the dog continued to wrestle with the suspect, preventing him from injuring Mosher. Fearing for his dog’s safety, Mosher drew his gun and called Bandit off. But MacDonald wasn’t ready to give up and turned his aggression on the officers. Mosher fired two warning shots. Bandit, sensing that his handler was in danger, reacted to the gunfire by lunging at MacDonald again. As Bandit latched on, MacDonald stabbed him through the heart. Mosher fired, wounding MacDonald, but it was too late for Bandit - he bled to death at the scene. A post-mortem exam showed that Bandit had continued to defend his handler despite a partially severed spinal cord. 

A memorial service for Bandit, held at the RCMP detachment in North Sydney, was attended by many - including a dozen police service dogs and their handlers from across Atlantic Canada. Bandit had been a part of Mosher’s family for two-and-a-half years, and was a popular attraction when he visited schools throughout Nova Scotia. “When he was killed, I lost a piece of me,” Mosher said. Bandit’s heroic actions were honoured by the Purina Hall of Fame, who named him Service Dog of the Year in 2001. 

MacDonald recovered from the gunshot wound and faced numerous charges – although the Criminal Code did not provide for charges to be laid specifically for killing the police dog. After six months of psychiatric assessments, postponements and delays, MacDonald was released four days before Christmas and ordered to return to court in the new year. Two weeks later he breached his conditions and was arrested again. Despite the fact that he had earlier been found fit to stand trial, MacDonald underwent several more psychiatric assessments over the course of the next five months. A deal was finally struck, with MacDonald pleading guilty to reduced charges. 

Mosher submitted a lengthy victim impact statement prior to sentencing, hoping to convince the court of the severity of MacDonald’s crimes. “I do not possess the words to describe how I felt watching my best friend knifed to death while he was valiantly trying to save me,” Mosher told the court. “Without hesitation, he leaped to protect me and received the deadly blow of a knife that was planned and meant for me….I truly believe Bandit’s actions prevented innocent people from being killed or harmed. Bandit was a true hero.” The defence countered that a police dog is nothing more than a tool and that this kind of outcome was to be expected in the line of duty. MacDonald received an 18-month conditional sentence and walked out of court without serving another day. 

Frustrated by the light sentence, Mosher wrote to Attorney General Anne McLellan to voice his concerns and request her assistance – she never replied to his letter. Despite continued efforts on the part of police dog handlers across the country, Canada still has no law against killing a police service dog.

PSD CEASAR

PSD CEASAR PSD CEASAR

June 23, 1998

At 11:30am on Wednesday 23 June, 1998, Constable Randy Goss and PSD Caesar were among officers who responded to a call about a 20-year old man who was armed with a shotgun and firing off rounds in his backyard. When police confronted the man and ordered him to drop his weapon, he pointed his shotgun at them and stated that he wanted to commit suicide. Officers then called for the Emergency Task Force to assist them, and backed off to await their arrival. 

While they waited, the man fired off more rounds before making his way into a field that backed onto three schools where students were celebrating the end of the school year with an outdoor play day. He then pointed his gun at a group of teens before firing more shots into the air. 

Officers on scene decided that the man had to be stopped before he got any closer to the students. When the man turned his back on police to walk towards the school, Constable Goss sent Caesar to take him down. But as Caesar closed in on him, the man suddenly turned and shot him point blank in the face before turning his gun on police. Officers immediately fired, wounding the man, and placed him under arrest. Caesar was rushed to the vet clinic in a police cruiser, but it was too late – he had been killed instantly. 

The six-year old Rottweiler had been raised by Constable Goss from the age of 10-weeks, and the pair had been constant companions. They were a popular attraction when they visited local schools, where Caesar would entertain students by barking twice in response to the question: “What’s one plus one?” 

The outpouring of grief for the fallen police dog was unprecedented. The next day, schoolchildren bearing flowers and condolences flocked to the police kennels, where the flag had been lowered to half mast. A card made by one ofhe students read: “We are very

Caesar was the fourth Edmonton Police Service Dog to be killed in the line of duty. A public memorial service was held to honour his life, and thousands of dollars were donated to a fund in Caesar’s memory. In 1999, Caesar was inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame. 

Goss returned to work, eventually becoming the sergeant in charge of the Edmonton Police Canine Unit. On June 20, 2007, at the unveiling of the Canadian Police Service Dog National Monument, Sergeant Goss presented a cheque for $6000 from the proceeds of Caesar’s memorial fund – a donation in support of the monument, on behalf of the citizens of Edmonton.   

PSD CHIP

PSD CHIP PSD CHIP

Sept 13, 1996

Constable Doug Lewis, an eighteen-year veteran of the RCMP and a canine handler for the past seven years, was off duty on Friday, September 13th. He had been out exercising his canine partner Chip, a two-and-a-half-year old German Shepherd Dog who had been Lewis’s partner for the past eighteen months. They were in Buckerfield’s Country Store in Chilliwack, British Columbia, buying a bag of dog food, when Lewis’s pager went off at 2:00pm. Lewis called in and learned that highway patrol in Hope was requesting a canine unit to track a suspect who had fled into the woods. Lewis paid for his purchase and rushed straight over. 

Arriving thirty minutes later, Lewis was apprised of the situation by officers on scene – highway patrol had chased a car after the driver failed to pay for gas and ran a tollbooth near the town of Merritt. When officers pulled the car over, the driver – a male, 6’1” and 235lbs, apparently unarmed and clad in shorts and a t-shirt - was aggressive and highly confrontational. He resisted arrest and fled into the bush. 

Because he was off duty at the time, Lewis was without his gun, radio, handcuffs and other equipment. But he knew the two members of the Emergency Response Team who would be his backup, and he trusted that they would look after him if need be. All Lewis and Chip had to do was locate the suspect – the ERT team would take care of the rest. 

Lewis slipped the tracking harness over Chip’s head, attached the twenty-foot long line, and headed into the bush with the his backup close on his heels. The track led straight up the mountainside, the going was rough, and the ERT team soon fell behind. Twice, Lewis had to wait when they called for him to slow down. The third time they called out, Lewis didn’t hear them. 

Nose to the ground and pulling hard, Chip continued to follow the track through the dense brush. Three kilometers into the woods, the terrain leveled out. Suddenly, Chip raised his head. Following his partner’s gaze, Lewis spied a man hiding behind a tree. Lewis commanded his dog to attack as Chip charged at the suspect. 

But as Chip latched onto the man’s left arm, Lewis saw, to his horror, that in his right hand the man was brandishing a knife. Before Lewis could react, the suspect plunged the knife into Chip’s neck, severing his jugular vein. As the man withdrew the knife and moved to stab Chip again, Lewis dropped the leash and rushed to the aid of his canine partner. The suspect reacted, and turned his fury on the unarmed officer. Chip, dragging his leash behind him, circled behind his handler then leapt at the suspect again – inadvertently wrapping the leash around Lewis’s legs. 

Violently swinging the knife, the suspect knocked the hobbled officer to the ground and began stabbing him in the face, arms and neck. Frantic to protect his master, Chip lunged repeatedly, biting at the attacker and even at his own handler in the confusion as the two men wrestled for control of the knife. 

Fighting for his life, Lewis managed to wrench the knife out of his attacker’s grip. Through the blood and sweat running into his eyes, he caught a glimpse of Chip standing off to the side, glassy eyed and bleeding heavily. It would be the last time he saw his partner alive.

 

The fight continued for several minutes more, with the suspect punching and stabbing the officer. Lewis continued to yell for his backup, hoping they would come to his rescue, but to no avail. Finally, the suspect gave up – he walked over to where Chip was lying motionless on the ground, cut off the dog’s leash, then fled into the woods. 

Lewis immediately turned his attention to Chip, but the dog’s eyes were glassed over and he wasn’t moving. Knowing it was too late, Lewis nonetheless removed his t-shirt and tried to stop the bleeding. As he cradled his partner’s head, Chip let out a gasp – and he was gone. 

Exhausted from the fight and going into shock from the heavy loss of blood, Lewis stumbled through the woods, heading towards the sound of the distant highway. Twenty minutes later, he staggered out onto the road and flagged down a passing car. 

A massive manhunt was launched, with thirty police officers, seven canine units and the RCMP helicopter searching for the suspect. Five hours later, RCMP Corporal George Beattie and his police service dog caught up with the man, and placed him under arrest. 

Lewis had suffered nine stab wounds to his face, arms and chest, requiring more than fifty stitches. Nevertheless, he was back at work in two weeks’ time, training with his new canine partner. “It was hard to get another dog,” he admits. “Chip was a phenomenal dog. I think of him often.” 

Touched by the police dog’s bravery and loyalty to his handler, the citizens of Hope erected a monument in Chip’s honour. Carved out of wood, it depicts a dog standing on a mountainside. A plaque mounted on the base reads:

“This carving has been erected in the lasting memory of Royal Canadian Mounted Police Service Dog Chip, killed in the line of duty near Hope, British Columbia, September 13, 1996, while protecting his partner and friend, Cst. Doug Lewis.” 

The suspect, Robert John Petrus of Campbell River, was charged with the attempted murder of Constable Lewis. He never stood trial, having been found not criminally responsible due to mental illness (he had been off his medication at the time of the attack). Under current provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada, Petrus could not be charged with killing Chip. 

As for Cst. Lewis, he continues to work with Police Dog Services. An affable man with an easy smile, he often speaks to new recruits on the subject of officer safety. His message: “Never give up.” 

PSD JUSTIN

PSD JUSTIN PSD JUSTIN

May 11, 1976

On May 11, 1976, Constable Gary Foster and PSD Justin responded to a call about shots fired. Justin located a man hiding in the bushes who then fled, leaving his shotgun behind.

Sent to apprehend the fleeing suspect, Justin chased the man across a park and quickly caught up to him, latching onto his arm as he had been trained to do. The suspect fought back, stabbing Justin several times before officers caught up to assist him. Constable Foster was also stabbed during the struggle, but officers eventually gained control and placed the man under arrest.

Justin was rushed to the veterinary hospital but died during emergency surgery.

In recognition of his heroic dedication to duty, Justin was posthumously awarded the SPCA’s Catherine Price Gold Medal as well as the Vancouver Sun’s 1976 Award of Merit. He was the second Vancouver Police Service Dog to lose his life in the line of duty. 

PSD CLOUD II

PSD CLOUD II

August 31, 1975

Police Service Dog Cloud II, a five-year-old German Shepherd Dog, had a reputation for being an excellent tracker. He had captured 123 fugitives over the course of his four-year career, was inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame in 1974, and had appeared with his handler, Constable Ray Carson, on the television show “Front Page Challenge”. Carson was a well-respected dog man who had been with the Ontario Provincial Police Canine Unit for several years. Cloud II was his second canine partner.

On August 2nd, 1975, inmate Donald Kelly attacked a guard at a prison in North Bay, seized a rifle, and fled in a stolen car. Kelly had been in prison awaiting trial on two counts of murder. Police launched a manhunt, but Kelly seemed to have vanished without a trace. Eleven days into the search, Carson and Cloud II were dispatched to join the hunt.

After more than two weeks of intensive searching, Cloud II finally picked up Kelly’s trail near the town of Skead, twenty-five miles east of Sudbury, Ontario. Carson and Cloud II, along with their backup officer, followed the trail to a cabin deep in the woods.

As Carson walked around the cabin to investigate, he stumbled upon Kelly who was having a bite to eat on the front porch. The fugitive reached for his rifle as Carson drew his gun and sent his dog to apprehend him. But as Cloud II closed in, Kelly fired, fatally wounding the dog.

A gunfight ensued and Kelly, who was wounded, escaped into the woods. He was captured later that afternoon and returned to jail. When he was finally brought before the courts on his original charges, he was found guilty of the two murders he had committed in 1969 and was sentenced to life in prison. He did not face charges for killing the police dog.

Carson remained with the canine unit and was teamed with his next partner, Cloud III, a few months later. He was eventually promoted to sergeant, then staff sergeant, and went on to become the coordinator and head dog trainer at the OPP Academy. He retired in 1993 after a long and successful career.

PSD VALIANT

PSD VALIANT PSD VALIANT

December 18, 1967

On December 18th 1967, PSD Valiant and his partner Cst. Mike Wellman were dispatched to an apartment at 1460 Nelson Street to assist with the arrest of an escaped convict. The Wanted man Joseph McKenna, 32 yrs. was known to be armed. He had been serving time for murder. Police became involved in a shoot out with the accused narrowly missing officers. PSD Valliant was sent into the suite and attempted to apprehend the suspect who had hidden himself under a bed. The accused fired a shot and Valliant was immediately recalled by his handler. Police again warned the suspect who then gave up fearing the dog would be sent in after him again. The accused surrendered and Valliant guarded him while he was taken into custody. It was then that officers noticed that Valliant had been shot. His thick coat had concealed the injury and slowed down his blood loss. Officers immediately transported Valliant to a Veterinary hospital, however it was too late and Valliant died of his injuries. Valliant was awarded the Vancouver Sun’s 1967 Award of Merit.

PSD CINDY

PSD CINDY PSD CINDY

May 25, 1965

Early on the morning of Tuesday, May 25th, 1965, a man called the RCMP to report that he had been forced out of a friend’s home at knifepoint. When officers arrived on scene to investigate, they were confronted by a man with a gun.

Hearing shots fired inside, Superintendant John Stevenson and Constable Robert Stephens, along with his partner PSD Cindy, entered the home. After searching the main floor and finding it deserted, they made their way upstairs. As Stevenson looked into a stairwell leading to the third floor, he found himself face-to-face with a man wielding a shotgun.

The officers ordered the man to come out and surrender, but he refused. Cindy was then sent in after him, but as she leapt at the man he opened fire, killing her instantly. Police returned fire, wounding the man, and were able to disarm him and place him under arrest. Further investigation revealed that he had recently been involved in the negotiation of two key bargaining matters and was suffering from stress as a result.

Cindy and Constable Stephens had become partners on May 16, 1963 and completed their training three months later on August 23rd. Cindy was three years old at the time of her death, and was the first police service dog killed in line of duty in British Columbia. She was buried at the Crescent Valley detachment on May 29, 1965. Constable Stephens remained with the unit and trained with his new partner, PSD Eko.

PSD Keno

PSD Keno

June 18, 1971

Keno was shot twice with an M1 carbine rifle while apprehending two armed robbers at a North Vancouver bank. further info to follow.

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