Vancouver police responds to lawsuit over alleged service dog attack

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      A Vancouver police spokesperson says an internal department review found a complaint over an alleged attack by a police dog last June to be “unsubstantiated”.

      Christopher Evans, 33, is suing the City of Vancouver and two officers, alleging he was bitten by a service dog and suffered wounds that required around 100 staples to close.

      In the suit, Evans claims he continues to suffer ill effects from the injuries he sustained after the alleged attack in an East Vancouver alley.

      “We only became aware of this pending lawsuit yesterday as a result of media stories,” Vancouver police Const. Lindsey Houghton told reporters during a briefing today (January 27).

      “And while we can’t speak specifically to the incident that’s referenced, we can say that it has been investigated by the Vancouver Police Department’s professional standards section and that investigation was overseen by the B.C. Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, which found that the complaint was unsubstantiated,” he said.

      Houghton also defended the department’s dog squad.

      “The Vancouver police dog squad attends over 10,000 calls a year and their dog is deployed in less than one percent of those calls,” he said.

      “It’s a tool that we have at our disposal just like a baton or pepper spray and in order to use that tool…an officer has to believe that a criminal offence has been committed and a use of force is needed to apprehend that suspect, and that’s well-defined in the Criminal Code,” Houghton said.

      Evans, a Downtown Eastside resident, admits in legal documents he smashed a bus window in frustration after he was passed by several times while heading home on June 12, 2011.

      He alleges he was later bitten on the leg by a service dog while skateboarding and listening to music on headphones. The Crown eventually stayed a charge of mischief against Evans, the suit says.

      In his civil claim, Evans argues the deployment of the police dog was not warranted or necessary. He also argues the officers were negligent in training and deploying the dog.

      Evans is seeking general damages for personal injuries and special damages for loss of income and earning capacity.

      Pivot Legal Society, a Downtown Eastside advocacy group, is supporting his legal action against the city and the police officers.




      Jan 27, 2012 at 2:28pm

      So they were not aware of it until yesterday and they have already cleared themselves? Sounds like another solid VPD investigation. Case closed!


      Jan 27, 2012 at 3:26pm


      The article clearly states they were only aware of the LAWSUIT yesterday. The VPD obviously already knew about the incident and complaint, which was found to be "unsubstantiated". It speaks to Pivot's intent that they went to the press before even serving the lawsuit... Seems this is about making a media splash more than anything.


      Jan 27, 2012 at 5:34pm

      Well, the important thing is that the cops cleared themselves. They have got a pretty damn good track record going according to them.

      Martin Dunphy

      Jan 27, 2012 at 6:01pm


      As stated in the first story (link in the second paragraph, above), the notice of claim for the suit was filed in court almost six weeks ago, not yesterday.


      Jan 27, 2012 at 6:17pm

      Martin Dunphy:

      Interesting. Not sure why the discrepancy with this CBC story ( where the last sentence stated the press release was the day before the city was to be served with the lawsuit. That made the VPDs comments make sense (that they were unaware of the civil suit), so I guess I'm just confused now! Maybe less CBC news and more Straight for me.

      Deadly Force Caution.

      Jan 29, 2012 at 11:28am

      To all the idiots that want a "tough" on crime approach like the Neo-Con Jets, Jails & Big Oil Corporate Welfare agenda...

      YOU end up PAYING for the Lawsuits, Settlements & Corporate FOR PROFIT JAILS that actually make for a more dangerous Society!

      Look South of the Border they incarcerate more than STALIN!

      They have the toughest on Crime policy ("War On Drugs" etc) and yet they have the most violent Gun slinging shoot out culture on the planet.


      Jan 29, 2012 at 11:37am

      Hey Georgia Straight how about an article with the $ Value of the Taxpayer PAYING for Law$uit's for all police & judicial (Court's & Government) law$suit's over the last 25 years?

      Let's see how much Canadians paid for Police abuse, wrongful, Court wrongful convictions and other judicial cockups, by City & Province.

      Oh yeah don't forget the legal Bill Cost of Crown Cases even those where no settlement or payout, e.g. Cases "won" against abuse Cases etc.

      Neil Austin

      Jan 29, 2012 at 5:08pm

      I myself have been attacted by the vpd dogs and they are deadly even when i gave up and put my hands in air ( was not running from them) i turen to see the dog and handler i said i give up and he still let dog go and chew my ankle wich hurt so muck i thought it was chewed off . no need for this when i gave up ..

      Martin Dunphy

      Jan 29, 2012 at 5:15pm

      Neil Austin:

      If you wish to go on the record with your story, please email and request that your message be passed on to a reporter. Provide a phone number if you have one.

      Thank you.