'It does not feel fair': Woman bitten by Saskatoon police dog says victims deserve compensation

A Saskatoon woman hopes two Regina victims of police dog bites will join her legal fight, as she presses police for compensation after being bitten.

2 Regina men bitten in recent incidents; court ruled woman couldn't sue police after she was bitten in 2013

Sheila Tataquason will file an appeal later this month, as she fights for compensation after she was bitten in 2013 by a Saskatoon police dog. (CBC)

A Saskatoon woman says her heart sank when she learned two innocent bystanders were bitten by Regina police dogs in separate incidents this month.

"It has teeth that are so sharp, and that is vicious," said Sheila Tataquason, who has spent the past four years fighting for compensation after she was bitten by a Saskatoon police dog.

"I can feel their pain and I feel the sadness that they're probably going through."

Diego, a German shepherd, bit Sheila Tataquason although she wasn't involved in a crime. (Saskatoon Police Service)
In this month's incidents, Regina police said one dog was on a training exercise on July 4 and the other tracking a suspect on July 6 when the animals "contacted" the men.

Both men told CBC they were outside smoking on their respective porch steps when the police dogs bit them. 

Neither man was a suspect in any police investigation.

No compensation for 'regrettable' injuries

Tataquason was bitten by a police dog on Aug. 16, 2013. At the time, she and a friend were sitting in Tataquason's backyard smoking when a police dog burst into the yard, sinking its teeth into her stomach and left hip.

She had to go to the hospital to get three stitches. She also said she was taken into police custody for 6½ hours before being released.

'I didn't know it was a police dog. I just laid there, no fight, just taking the pain of the sharp teeth,' when she was bitten by a police dog in 2013, said Tataquason.
The dog was trying to track a man and woman suspected of robbing a nearby business, police later said.

Tataquason tried to sue the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners and three police officers. Last year, a civil court judge called her injuries "regrettable and unfortunate," but said she could not sue for damages.

The judge cited section 10 of Saskatchewan's Police Act, which grants police officers and other municipal employees immunity from civil litigation if they are carrying out their duties in good faith.

"It's a shame that our law enforcement is not taking accountability or responsibility for their actions," said Tataquason. "It does not feel fair to innocent people."

Hopes Regina men will also fight for compensation

She plans to file an appeal in her case on July 26, and hopes both the Regina men who were bitten will join her in her fight for compensation.

"I think people should be compensated, whether it's injuries or police misconduct against a person — compensated with cash."

Tataquason said she does not recall police ever apologizing to her, for what happened.

"We citizens of Canada need to open our eyes and take a look at what's going on in our police forces here in Saskatchewan," said Tataquason.

"I hope we can do better."