Assault on police dog leads to first charge under Quanto's law in Edmonton
Police service dog Jagger suffered non life-threatening injuries after an incident Tuesday night
The Edmonton Police Service has laid its first charge under Quanto's Law, which makes it a criminal offence to kill or injure a service animal.
The charge is in relation to an incident Tuesday evening, in which a man allegedly assaulted a police dog after evading officers for more than an hour in a speeding vehicle.
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Police say the canine unit noticed a suspicious Dodge Caravan speeding in the area of 127th Avenue and 9th Street at around 8:15 p.m. When they tried to stop the vehicle, it fled southbound on Anthony Henday Drive.
A police helicopter tracked the vehicle as it drove erratically through Edmonton, Beaumont and Strathcona County for more than an hour, at times at speeds of more than 120 km/h.
Jagger was assaulted by the suspect, struck in the face several times.- Sgt. Adam Segin
When the vehicle came back into Edmonton city limits, police lay down a spike belt near downtown police headquarters, and the vehicle came to a stop in the old remand centre parking lot.
Police blocked the vehicle, so the driver fled on foot.
When the driver was stopped by police service dog Jagger, he allegedly assaulted the dog, leaving the animal with non life-threatening injuries.
"Jagger was assaulted by the suspect, struck in the face several times," Sgt. Adam Segin said. "Don't believe any weapons were involved in the assault. The injuries sustained by PSD Jagger were relatively minor."
Police say the driver was carrying 80 grams of methamphetamine with a street value of $6,300. Police also found a loaded handgun, ammunition, bear spray, a hatchet and cash in the vehicle.
Ryan James Prystay, 33, is charged with injuring or endangering a law enforcement animal. He also faces numerous weapons and drug charges, as well as flight from a peace officer, dangerous driving and possession of stolen property under $5,000.
Prystay is known to police.
Quanto's Law, which took effect in July 2015, is named after an Edmonton police dog that was stabbed to death while chasing a suspect in 2013. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years, but also provides for a six-month mandatory minimum sentence if the animal was intentionally injured.
Segin said he's aware of only one other instance of the charge being laid in Canada. In November, a man in Toronto was charged after assaulting a police dog with a hatchet.
Police service dogs are highly trained for situations such as these, Segin added. He said it's still business as usual in the canine unit.
"[Jagger] is fine, some scrapes and minor cuts around his face," he said. "But he won't miss any time from work."