Police investigate after video shows officer kicking K9 unit dog to silence it in high-risk callout

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A Calgary police officer was wrong to kick his police service dog and feels bad about it, but was trying to silence its bark during a high-risk situation involving firearms where the safety of his colleagues depended on silence, the force says.

A video posted to Instagram on Wednesday shows the officer standing in a front yard next to a police dog when the dog starts to bark. The officer then kicks the dog.

The video sparked angry posts on social media and complaints to the Calgary Police Service, said Supt. Ryan Ayliffe at a news conference on Thursday.

"None of us here like this and none of us here wanted this, including the handler. It was a mistake," he said.

Ayliffe said the officer silenced his dog inappropriately and has been spoken to about it and has expressed regret for what happened.

Ayliffe said the incident happened during a high-risk tactical unit call that involved firearms, so silence was needed to guarantee the safety of the officers at the scene.

"The dog started barking. The thing an officer or a handler would do in that situation is verbally correct the dog. Obviously verbally correcting the dog in that situation would have just added to the noise of the situation," he said.

"The next option, the handler should have been correcting the dog's behaviour with its leash. The handler didn't do this. He kicked the dog, which is unacceptable."

Ayliffe said the dog and its handler will remain together while the incident is being reviewed, but he remains confident that both the officer and the dog are fit for duty.

"There was no intent to hurt this animal," he said.

Police are not releasing the name of the officer involved.