CALGARY — The Calgary Police Service says it expects off-duty dogs will continue to go home with their handlers despite one animal biting an officer's young son.
Police say the officer was grooming the dog on a deck Saturday afternoon when the boy approached and was bitten.
The child has been released from hospital, where he was treated for serious injuries, and the dog is in a police kennel.
Insp. Nancy Farmer with the police service's support section says the dog had been with his handler for about two months and didn't have any known behavioural problems.
She says police are reviewing what happened and are to decide whether practices should be improved.
She says it's important to the well-being of police dogs that they continue to live in their handlers' homes instead of in kennels.
"When we're at work, we work. When we're at home, we're allowed to actually exhale, and that's what we do with our dogs as well. That's why they go home," Farmer said Monday.
It's standard practice for police canine units around the world, she said.
"In fact, keeping them at a kennel 24-7 when they're not being operational and they're in their off time is actually more detrimental to an animal."
Farmer said the officer is off work to be with his family and the service is supporting them. She declined to say how old the child is.
The officer has only been with the force for three months, but put in 300 hours of his off-patrol time to train for the canine unit.
After an assessment, the dog could be reallocated, returned to its broker or put through more training.
Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press