Calgary Police Service officials say the actions of an officer recorded kicking his police service dog were not acceptable or a standard method of training the canine unit uses.
Supt. Ryan Ayliffe of the CPS operational support division addressed the video Thursday morning.
“We acknowledge this is not an acceptable way to correct dog behaviour, we don’t train that way of correcting, we don’t condone it,” he said.
The 20-second clip of the kick received plenty of backlash after it was posted to the Calgary Events social media pages on Wednesday.
Ayliffe said officers in the video were responding to a high-risk firearms investigation on Wednesday.
“While on scene the canine unit began barking which could have alerted offenders to the location to the officers on scene, in response to the high stress officer safety situation the handler struck the PSD once, the PSD was not injured in this incident,” he said.
Police say the officer, who has worked in the canine unit for six years, has been spoken to and has expressed regret for his actions.
The video, taken from inside a home, shows what appears to be members of the tactical unit walking off screen. The camera then pans over to reveal a handler and their canine partner.
“In this case the handler and the PSD were at an inside containment point at a high-risk call, silence is part concealment which was one of things the officer had to have to guarantee officer safety at that point,” Ayliffe said.
The police dog is heard barking, then the officer is seen swinging their leg toward the rib cage or shoulder area of the dog.
“The dog started barking, the initial thing an officer or handler would do in that situation is verbally correct the dog, obviously verbally correcting the dog in that situation would have just added to the noise of the situation, the next option the handler should have gone to would be correcting the dog’s behaviour with the leash,” said Ayliffe.
CPS wouldn’t disclose information about the high-risk call as it is an ongoing investigation but said firearms were involved.
Officials say they are taking this very seriously and will continue to review thoroughly to make sure it does not happen again with any police service dog.