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Parents demand answers as to why son was injured by police dog

RCMP officers train "Storm" a 3-1/2 year old German Shepherd police dog, at a screening facility near Whistler in 2010.

Sgt Frank Hudec/Globe files

The RCMP have placed an officer on leave and put his dog in a kennel after the dog bit a 16-year-old boy in the face during a weekend arrest in Surrey.

The teen was tracked by a police dog after allegedly fleeing the scene of a breaking and entering at a north Surrey gas station at around 2 a.m. Saturday. New Westminster police have been asked to investigate the incident.

The Lower Mainland District RCMP said they requested an independent review of the incident because of the extent of injuries suffered by the youth. The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave and the dog will remain in a kennel while the investigation takes place, said Chief Superintendent Janice Armstrong.

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Of 783 incidents in which police dogs in the Lower Mainland tracked an individual last year, contact was made in 82 cases, said Supt. Armstrong. The dogs are trained to bite the arms of a suspect and to release on command, she said.

The parents of the 16-year-old youth acknowledge their son used "stupid judgment" but are upset about his injuries and are demanding answers for the way he was arrested.

Pictures taken by the teen's mother at hospital show a young face covered with blood, deeply exposed wounds on his nose and cheek and his eyes half shut. The youth suffered bites to his face and arms, as well as a broken nose, his mother said.

"When I first saw it I was like 'Oh my god,' I started crying 'my poor son,'" said the teen's mother. "I could see into his nasal cavity."

The teen's parents said they have hired a lawyer for his criminal charge of breaking and entering and possession of stolen property. They said they will also seek compensation for their son's injuries.

The teen's parents said investigators from the New Westminster police came to their house Tuesday to take photos of the youth's injuries.

"I feel sorry for everybody, you know. It's not just my son," the boy's father said. "I feel sorry for everyone, the whole incident."

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