SIU clears OPP officer in dog bite incident near Odessa

siu

An OPP officer has been cleared of any wrongdoing in connection to an incident in June that saw a fleeing suspect injured by a police dog in the Odessa-area. 

A report from the province's Special Investigations Unit found the use of a police dog was justified in the June 2 incident, which saw a man flee into a wooded area near County Road 4 in Loyalist Township after he had hit a woman with his car. 

As four officers searched for the man, a member of the OPP Emergency Response Team and a police dog responded to the scene; The SIU's final report from Director Joseph Martino said the dog located the man and bit him in the calf twice before the handler was able to locate and remove the dog. 

The 30-year-old man suffered serious injuries, including multiple puncture wounds and cuts to the lower left leg, according to the report, which it said later required surgery to remove bone chips. 

A slight delay in removing the dog likely led to the suspect injuries getting worse, according to the police watchdog's report, but it said the officer acted properly as he believed the suspect may have a weapon with him and was approaching with caution from a distance.

"I am satisfied the officer’s fears and decision-making were reasonable in the circumstances," the report stated. 

"Indeed, once the complainant was lifted off the ground, a flashlight was discovered on the ground."

The report concluded there were no basis for criminal charges against the officer.