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Young Calgary boy describes horrific attack by off-duty police dog

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April 02, 2016 - 10:35 AM

CALGARY - A 12-year-old boy says being attacked and bitten by a police dog that lived in his neighbourhood has left him hesitant to go back outside.

Ali Hassan says he was playing with his brother and sister on the street in front of their family's home Wednesday night when he saw a large, beige-coloured dog running toward him.

The boy says he's afraid of dogs, so his instinct was to run into his house, but the dog — an off-duty canine officer named Marco, who had gotten out of his handler's yard — followed him inside, jumped on him, and bit him on the thigh.

Calgary police Chief Roger Chaffin has apologized for the incident, and says the young dog has been put into a kennel and the entire matter will be investigated and canine unit policies will be reviewed.

Chaffin says it's unlikely Marco will be euthanized but transferring him to another agency is a possibility.

Ali recalls being trapped in the dog’s jaws for 30 to 40 seconds while his grandparents and mother attempted to halt the attack.

Mustafa Hassan, Ali’s father, was upstairs at the time and the clamour below sent him rushing to the kitchen. Mustafa punched the dog in its side several times and the dog released its hold on the boy.

The dog’s handler entered the home and removed his dog before returning to administer first aid while waiting for paramedics to arrive and transport the boy to hospital.

“(The bite marks) were very deep," says Ali. "My dad said they were about two inches deep. I’m in a lot of pain.”

He says it wasn't his first time in the hospital but the incident was terrifying.

“I was just worried for my family members, they just seemed so scared,” he says. “When I was going in the ambulance, everyone’s faces were terrified.”

He's back home now, with stitches in his leg and is using crutches to walk.

Mustafa says having a police officer as a neighbour was comforting but the family had no idea a police dog lived nearby.

“The incident broke the safety of the neighbourhood and that is what we don’t like,” says Mustafa. “I think we should talk about that in the future.”

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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