OPP officer who killed Collingwood dog cleared of wrongdoing
An OPP officer who killed a dog in Collingwood last year is being cleared of wrongdoing through an independent report.
An investigation by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director determined there was insufficient evidence to prove misconduct on the part of the officer.
The OIPRD investigation was launched after the officer struck and fatally shot Karen Sutherland’s dog, Merrick, on Oct. 19.
At the time, the officer was responding to a call for a reported rabid coyote.
According to the report, the officer located the animal walking through the Collingwood neighbourhood, where he described the street as being very dark.
It says the officer thought the animal was injured, and was acting strangely, appearing “almost drunk” and “snarling”.
The investigation says the officer believed the “coyote” was potentially dangerous and determined the safest way to “dispatch” the animal was to immobilize it.
It says the officer attempted to stun the animal by hitting it with his cruiser, but failed twice. When he succeeded, he exited his vehicle and shot the animal in its side.
An autopsy later determined the dog was not run over.
It was later determined that the animal was actually an old family dog, and not a coyote.
Investigators concluded that the officer’s actions were justified.
“Although his actions with the police vehicle were unconventional, it was likely the safest method to immobilize the animal that he believed to be a coyote, which enabled him to put the animal down,” reads the report.
“It is tragic that the animal turned out to be the complainant’s dog.”
The whole event was captured on video and shared across social media, leaving some in the community outraged.
Sutherland says she just wants to move on from the whole ordeal.
“I just want to put the whole thing behind me and get on with my life. It's not going to bring the dog back. So I just try not to think about it.”
The report also says there was insufficient evidence to support an allegation of discreditable conduct against a second OPP officer who was involved in the case.
Seven civilian witnesses and two other officers were interviewed during the review. Investigators also reviewed audio reports and video of the incident.
The OPP would not comment on the investigation on Friday.