Police in Gatineau, Que., shoot and kill 2 dogs during arrest

Gatineau police said they were forced to shoot two dogs when they were called to the scene of a violent altercation on Saturday morning.

3 people arrested after early morning altercation

Gatineau police were called to the scene of a violent altercation at this apartment on Joanisse Street on Aug. 4, 2018. Officers ended up having to shoot and kill two dogs during the arrest. (Reno Patry/Radio-Canada)

Gatineau police said their officers were forced to shoot two dogs after they were called to the scene of a violent altercation Saturday morning.

Police were called to an apartment on Joanisse Street around 4 a.m.

When they arrived, the occupants refused to open the door, the force said.

The officers on scene suspected a person inside had been injured and decided to force the door open. 

Once the officers had made their way inside, the occupants released two dogs. The officers were forced to shoot the animals to protect themselves, Gatineau police said. 

Officer taken to hospital

Police said both dogs died following the shooting. One suspect and one officer had to be taken to hospital.

Three people were arrested and are expected to be charged with uttering threats, interfering with police and assaulting a police officer, Gatineau police said.

One of the dogs was a pit bull and the other a German shepherd-Labrador retriever mix, according to the SPCA.

Tonie Calderon said he heard five gun shots go off during the Aug. 4, 2018 arrest inside his Joanisse Street apartment. Gatineau police ended up shooting two dogs during the arrest. (Reno Patry/Radio-Canada )

Witness heard 5 shots

Tonie Calderon lives in the building and said he was woken up at around 3:45 a.m. by arguing and fighting on one of the floors below him.

He said police showed up and asked to be allowed into the unit, but the tenants used foul language and wouldn't let them in.

"[One of the tenants] threatened the officers with his dogs. And they said, 'Well, if your dogs attack us, we're going to protect ourselves.' And sure enough ... the dogs ended up trying to attack the officers," Calderon said. 

The dogs lost their life just because somebody just wanted to be a big macho man and you know, it's not fair.—  Tonie  Calderon

Calderon said he was in a back staircase when he saw a man being arrested and one of the dogs run toward an officer.

He said he then heard five gunshots.

"I heard the gun shots go off and I'm like, 'Oh snap!' You know, I wasn't scared. I just knew that the cops had to protect themselves," said Calderon. 

Mostly quiet neighbourhood

Calderon said he felt the officers were justified, adding that it was the German shepherd-Labrador retriever mix that was the aggressive dog — not the pit bull.

"The dogs lost their life just because somebody just wanted to be a big macho man. And you know, it's not fair," he said.

"I feel bad for the dogs because they're not meant for that ... I own a dog myself and it's just, I could never put my dog in that position."

Calderon said the neighbourhood is mostly quiet, with many kids living in the area. He hoped something like this doesn't happen again. 

Louise Boudrias, Gatineau's deputy mayor, did not comment on the shooting, only saying that the municipal regulations around potentially dangerous dogs would not have applied since the dogs were indoors. 

Greg Brown worked for Ottawa police for 28 years and says he knows of a number of times when dogs were told to attack officers. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Police 'entitled to protect themselves'

Greg Brown worked for the Ottawa Police Service for 28 years and said he knows what it's like to be in this kind of situation.

Brown recalled one incident, while he was working in drug enforcement, when he was attacked by an aggressive dog.

He said he had to hit it with the end of his shotgun.

"It was a traumatic event for myself, and it certainly didn't feel very good for the dog. But certainly it was a very anxiety-provoking experience," Brown said.

He also remembered another incident when an officer in Vanier had to shoot attacking dogs.

"I can recall speaking to the officer afterwards, and he was very upset about having to be put in a position to do that. It certainly wasn't his choice," said Brown. 

Dog attacks weren't a daily experience, but they weren't unusual, Brown said. He said people would use the animals as a tool for protection.

"A vicious dog obviously can cause serious bodily harm or even death in extreme circumstances," Brown said. "And so the police are entitled to protect themselves."

With files from Radio-Canada's Yasmine Mehdi