Police watchdog receives 50 complaints about Collingwood dog killing
About 50 complaints have been made to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) regarding last week’s incident in which a Collingwood OPP officer killed a dog.
“We have had a number of complaints about this incident,” said spokesperson Rosemary Parker.
The OIPRD is an independent civilian oversight agency that handles complaints against police officers.
Parker said complaints that are received are screened, and either discarded or an investigation is ordered.
“It goes through a screening process. Complaints are looked at to determine whether or not a complaint falls within our jurisdiction and who is making the complaint … If people see things on television and send in complaints, they are too far removed, it’s not affecting them, even though they may be upset by it.”Dog owner, family outraged by police response to Collingwood dog killing
Parker said an investigation could be completed by the OIPRD or it could be forwarded to the police organization (OPP or municipal service) for action.
She said the agency fields about 3,000 complaints a year, with about half being investigated by the OIPRD directly.
In addition to its own investigations, the OIPRD also handles appeals.
If a complainant is not happy with an investigation completed by the police service, it can be appealed to the OIPRD.
“If the complainant doesn’t like the outcome, they have the ability to ask us to review it,” Parker said.
Currently, there is no OIPRD investigation into the dog killing in Collingwood, but there is an investigation being led by the professional standards bureau of the Ontario Provincial Police.
Acting OPP Sgt. Lynda Cranney couldn’t offer any details regarding the potential length of the professional standards investigation.
Collingwood OPP Insp. John Trude couldn’t speak to the investigation, but said the officer at the centre of the matter is working a regular shift. He said any complaints should be forwarded to the OIPRD.
He also said threatening comments have been made against the officer who killed the dog.
“There have been some comments made by people that are very passionate about their beliefs,” he said. “Hopefully the comments made, which are threatening in nature, are made in the heat of the moment.”Collingwood police confirm it was dog, not coyote run over by OPP cruiser three times
The Ontario SPCA said it is talking to the OPP about the investigation but couldn’t comment on its status.
“We are communication with the OPP regarding the situation in Collingwood and we are keeping that communication open for training opportunities in the future,” said spokesperson Alison Cross.
She said the OSPCA offer training to police organizations and has worked with Toronto Police Services and municipal forces in Guelph, Windsor and London but has not worked with the OPP.
The agency offers training on the Ontario SPCA Act “and how to work with it and addressing situations,” Cross said.
OSPCA officers receive 14-week training, both classroom and in-field instruction.
“I know our officers receive quite extensive training when they deal with all types of training,” she said. “They do receive training regarding wildlife. They do receive training regarding domestic animals. It’s quite extensive.”
Police officers do receive some training on dealing with animals at the Ontario Police College, according to Greg Flood, manager of issues and media for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Service.
Any potential recruit to policing in Ontario has a 60-day stint at the college, which includes instruction on dealing with animals.
“Given that this matter is under internal investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police, it would be inappropriate to provide comment on this specific case,” he said.
“Generally, in their studies at the Ontario Police College, recruits are taught that under the Use of Force Regulation (O Reg 926), if an animal is potentially dangerous or is so badly injured that its suffering must be ended, they may discharge their firearm to put down the animal. This regulation applies province wide, however individual police services may provide additional training and/or employ specific operational policies.”
Flood said the basic constable training curriculum is constantly reviewed and updated as changes to case law, legislation, inquest recommendations and technology enhancements occur. The curriculum is reviewed by instructors, subject matter experts and, in some cases, by a Crown Attorney and managers.
Timeline of events
9:30 p.m. Karen Sutherland notices her dog, Merrick, is missing from the backyard. The gate has blown open and a portion of the neighbour’s fence had blown over.
She and boyfriend Scott Klinck search nearby streets for Merrick by car until about midnight.
10:30 p.m. A Collingwood resident, who lives near Walnut and Seventh streets, calls OPP to report what she thinks is a coyote wandering the street.
According to Christine Soti, a resident and one of the witnesses, OPP arrived but the coyote (later identified as a dog) was not at the scene anymore. The officer spoke with one resident, then left. Soon after the officer returned to find the dog in the area, but this time did not exit the vehicle, and mistook the dog for a coyote. The officer nudges the dog with the cruiser, then is filmed running over it two more times before shooting it.
Early morning: Sutherland and Klinck worry that Merrick has not returned. They call the local pound, Georgian Triangle Humane Society, animal control and the OPP. Sutherland visits the horse barn where she volunteers and where Merrick often visits with her.
8 p.m. Sutherland calls OPP again.
8:30 p.m. OPP officers visit Sutherland at her home to tell her it was her dog, Merrick, a 21-year-old German Shepherd and not a coyote killed the previous night.
Morning: Scott Klinck goes to Bellbrae Animal Hospital to identify and pick up Merrick’s body.http://www.simcoe.com/news-story/604734 ... g-killing/