Yellowknife

Shot dog is ‘improving’ as owners and RCMP meet, talk


The owners of a dog shot by a Yellowknife RCMP officer earlier this month say he is recovering after surgery, while an investigation into the shooting continues.

Rocko, a pitbull, was involved in an altercation with a police German shepherd named Hoss. While RCMP say their dog and a handler were hurt first, Rocko’s owners say he was defending himself.

An officer who had been conducting training with Hoss subsequently fired at Rocko and hit his throat. Owner Lawrence Mantla says he was holding his dog at the time, an allegation about which RCMP have yet to comment.

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Mantla last week confirmed Rocko had left his downtown property “by just a few steps” as the incident began, in an alley. RCMP have not discussed exactly where the incident took place, though they stated training of Yellowknife police dogs often does take place in downtown alleys.

On Friday, Mantla and Lori Dashney said Rocko “continues to show improvement” after surgery designed to treat a bullet wound to his esophagus. Further examination of his throat for damage was scheduled for Monday this week, Dashney said.

Meanwhile, officers have been in touch with the owners as an internal investigation into the shooting continues.

While Mantla maintained that the officer involved has “flipped the story around” regarding who was hurt first and how events transpired, he said a sergeant had visited and “gave us a lot of information and guidance on where to go to make a complaint.”

Dashney said the sergeant had “offered a personal apology and apologized on behalf of RCMP as well, and they were wishing Rocko a speedy recovery.”

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RCMP, in a written statement, said “a member of the RCMP had a private discussion with the owners of the dog involved in last week’s incident.”

The statement continued: “As there is an ongoing Independent Officer Review (IOR) of the matter, we cannot discuss specific details. That said, we can advise that a senior member reached out to establish communications with the owners, should they have questions, and to explain some of the processes, including the IOR and the public complaints process.

“The member expressed regret at the outcome of the incident and sympathy for what the dog owners are going through. We understand that a family has a close bond with a family pet.”

An online fundraiser established for Rocko had received donations amounting to a little over $2,000 as of Monday.


Correction: June 15, 2020 – 13:26 MT. Initially, this article identified the police dog involved as Hoff. The dog is in fact named Hoss.

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