Edmonton

Pit bull shot by police after it attacks police dog Viper on b & e call

A pit bull that attacked a police dog during an break-and-enter investigation in northeast Edmonton on Wednesday morning was shot and fatally wounded by police.

Dog ran out of house during break and enter call, latched onto Police Service Dog Viper

Police Service Dog Viper was attacked by a dog Wednesday while tracking a suspect in northeast Edmonton. (EPS)

A pit bull that attacked a police dog during an break-and-enter investigation in northeast Edmonton on Wednesday morning was shot and fatally wounded by police.

A police officer shot the dog when it latched on to the neck of Viper, a police service dog, and would not let go, Canine Unit Staff Sgt. Troy Carrier said.

At 4:15 a.m., police were called to a vehicle theft complaint near 147th Avenue and 23rd Street.

A second call came in from a person who was holding a man caught breaking into his house with the use of a garage door opener stolen from a vehicle in the driveway.

Police believed two suspects were in the area.

Viper and his handler began tracking the second suspect, but when the home owner opened the front door, a dog ran out of the house and attacked Viper.

"The dogs were actively fighting," Carrier said. "They were two big strong dogs. 

"The dog itself got the upper hand and had our service dog by the throat. We could not get him off after several kicks, punches, everything the handler could do."

Carrier said the homeowner was also yelling and screaming trying to get his dog to let go.

After about a minute after the attack began, a patrol officer tracking along with the canine unit pulled his gun and fired one shot at the dog. 

The dog's owner rushed it to a nearby emergency vet clinic, but the dog was later euthanized.

"It's unfortunate that a dog had to be put down this morning," Carrier said. "The police officer had to make a difficult decision at that moment to save PSD Viper."

Viper did not suffer any major injuries, but nonetheless could not continue to track the second suspect who remains at large.

Police credit Viper's two collars in preventing the pit bull from doing any ripping or tearing, though Viper was losing consciousness from the pressure of the dog's jaws.

While the homeowners would not speak to media, neighbours said the pit bull was friendly and rarely barked whether children or other dogs were about. 

The suspect apprehended by the complainant is an 18-year-old known to police.

He is charged with break and enter and theft from a motor vehicle.

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