Despite the freezing temperatures, several hundred people went to an Edmonton park Sunday morning to meet some of the Edmonton police service dogs and their handlers. People were treated to exhibitions of how the dogs drag unwilling suspects from vehicles and how they chase and apprehend a suspect. Those in attendance were allowed to pet the service animals.
While these events had been held in the past, this one was to honour Quanto who was killed in the line of duty earlier this month.
On Oct. 7
, Quanto and officers were engaged in the pursuit of a suspect who refused to stop for police. The man drove his car into a median and fled on foot. Quanto later approached the suspect in a parking lot where it is alleged the man pulled out a knife and stabbed the service dog several times.
Quanto was rushed to the Edmonton Veterinarian Emergency Clinic where he died a short time later. Paul Joseph Vukmavich, 27, faces numerous charges including cruelty to an animal.
Staff Sgt. Troy Carriere, of the Canine Unit, said
the unit was "showered with support and sympathy" in the wake of Quanto's death, not only from Edmontonians but from people across Canada. People showed their support through emails and with donations to the city's kennels and the Edmonton Humane Society.
Darnya Kostyuk, who came to the park with her parents, said she learned about Quanto in school. She said
, "Our school is raising money for Quanto, to buy a new police dog."
The Edmonton Police Service is currently looking for a dog to replace the slain service dog.
Under existing law, the only charge someone can face or injuring or killing a police service dog is cruelty to animals that carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison. Police have been lobbying the federal government to make injuring or killing a police service animal a more serious offence.
In the speech from the throne, delivered by Governor General David Johnson on Oct 16, the government announced
they would introduce new legislation that will provide specific offences for inflicting injury or death on a police service animal. Both Carriere and Const. Matt Williamson, Quanto's handler, were in Ottawa to watch the throne speech.
Although many of the law's details are not known at this time, the law will define which animals, such as cadaver dogs and horses of mounted units, will qualify as police service animals.
The law, when it is introduced, will be known as" Quanto's Law."