Quanto's killer sentenced to 26 months in prison

Paul Vukmanich, the killer of Edmonton police service dog Quanto, was sentenced on Friday to 26 months in prison.

Police dog stabbed to death while trying to subdue Paul Vukmanich

Police service dog Quanto was stabbed to death in October 2013. (Edmonton Police Service)

Paul Vukmanich, the killer of Edmonton police service dog Quanto, was sentenced on Friday to 26 months in prison.

Vukmanich, 27, pleaded guilty earlier this week to a number of charges including animal cruelty, possession of a weapon, impaired driving, resisting arrest and flight from police.

Provincial court Judge Larry Anderson sentenced Vukmanich to 18 months for killing Quanto; the remaining eight months were for the other charges he pleaded guilty to. 

Anderson called the stabbing "an act of unbridled violence."

"Your attack wasn't just an attack on a dog," he told Vukmanich. "It's an attack on your society and what's meaningful in our society. The hurt from your actions was widespread. It explains why there are so many in the courtroom today."

The judge, however, refused to impose a $40,000 restitution order for the loss of Quanto as recommended by the Crown.

Vukmanich will receive no credit for 4½ months in custody as he was on parole at the time. 

Crown prosecutor Christian Lim believes that the 18-month sentence is the harshest ever imposed for cruelty to an animal. 

"Not only is an animal's life important but in this case, here, a police service dog, representing you, the public, as well as the Edmonton Police Service ... killing a dog while on duty is going to be considered very seriously," Lim told reporters outside court. 

Deep wounds 

Quanto was stabbed early on Oct. 7 after he was sent to chase Vukmanich, who fled from police after crashing a stolen vehicle near 111 Avenue and 109 Street.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Vukmanich — who stands six feet eight inches tall — was seen punching Quanto and swinging him around. Then Vukmanich pulled out a knife and started stabbing the dog. 

Canine unit handler Const. Matthew Williamson drew his pistol and demanded three times that Vukmanich drop the knife. Meanwhile, blood was streaming out of Quanto's right side and from the bottom of his chest. 

Williamson was able to grab Quanto by the harness and rush him to the police car. The court document said that the dog's legs began to fail and his head fell. 

Quanto was dead by the time they arrived at the emergency veterinary clinic. A veterinarian said that Quanto died of several puncture wounds to the right side of his chest and injuries to his heart and lung. 

The cuts were several centimetres deep, allowing the veterinarian to insert his fingers in the wound. Large amounts of blood were found at the scene. 

Vukmanich was treated at hospital for cuts to his finger and forearm. Toxicology tests showed he had "significant amounts" of methamphetamine and traces of cocaine in his system, enough to impair his driving.

Quanto's death prompted a proposed law, which for first time could make it a crime to harm or kill a police dog in the line of duty. Currently the strongest charge that can be laid is cruelty to an animal.

Staff Sgt. Troy Carriere from the police canine unit said the stabbing was hard on Williamson, who saw Quanto die in his arms. 

"It's a difficult time for Matt. It has been since that day," he said.

"You heard how it impacted his family in there. He's a police officer but he's also a husband and a father ... and that's a difficult thing when you see the pain that is caused as a result of this.

"The public had a strong outcry as to what happened but you can imagine how he felt and his family the day that they lost Quanto."

Carriere hopes the sentence will prove to be a deterrent in the future.