VANCOUVER - Several B.C. groups say police dogs should not be used to catch children, and they have fired off a letter to the province's director of RCMP police dog services urging the change.
The call, from Pivot Legal Society, the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and the family of a 12-year-old Prince George girl, follows an incident when the girl was allegedly bitten on the leg by a service dog.
Pivot Legal Society says the child needed 20 stitches to close several bite wounds after she fled as Prince George Mounties tried to break up a fight between several young people in May.
The society says it has learned the Prince George detachment is already reviewing the use of its dog squad, and Pivot hopes its appeal to B.C.'s dog services director will sidestep formal policy revisions and prompt an immediate halt to the use of dogs on underage suspects.
According to Pivot, three young people - two of them just 12-years-old - have been bitten while being apprehended by police dogs over the last year.
Supporters of Pivot's proposal say police dogs should only be used on underage suspects if they are about to seriously harm themselves or others.