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Vancouver woman's lawsuit alleges she was mistakenly bitten, dragged by police dog


In late June 2022, Erin McLeod was walking home from work when she made the fateful decision to sit on the steps of Grandview Elementary School in Vancouver, with her back to the street.

"I was listening to music really loud, and looking at my phone and staring off, and then boom, it felt like something grabbed me really hard on my side. And then I went to push it off, and something grabbed my arm, and I realized it was a dog. And I was kind of being yanked around, it pulled me down the steps," said McLeod, who was 18 years old at the time.

She added it took several minutes for the VPD dog handler to get control of the German shepherd, and officers acknowledged McLeod was not their target.

“I can’t even begin to understand how they could allow this to happen,” said Mcleod. “I was very surprised, and they apologized to me and said I was handling the situation very well. I talked to them for a bit, they were very apologetic, they felt really bad.”

The teenager was taken to hospital and treated for injuries to her back and arm.

“It did break through some of my muscle and a lot of fat was coming out, they had to clean up the wound, I had to dress it for a couple of months afterwards and keep it covered,” she said.

While her physical wounds have since healed, the now 20 year old says emotional scars remain.

“Prior to this, I was a really big dog person. I grew up with dogs. But after that, I just couldn’t be around them anymore. Almost any dog, I would feel this extreme anxiety,” McLeod said.

When she sought out therapy for PTSD, she recalled officers on scene had told her she could contact VPD if she needed support. “Later on I tried to contact them saying I wanted to do counselling, and I was hoping they could help me fund it. And they told me that they couldn’t fund it at all.”

McLeod decided to hire a lawyer and last week, she filed a civil suit against the unnamed VPD dog handler and the City of Vancouver.

“Erin suffered in a way of physical and emotional injuries, so she deserves to be compensated for that. She has been undergoing counselling, so she deserves to be reimbursed for those treatments,” said her lawyer Eric Goodman, who added getting information from the police has been difficult.

“We do know that there was an internal investigation by the VPD, but we haven’t received a copy of that report,” Goodman said. “The purpose of this lawsuit is not only to ensure that Erin is fairly compensated for her injuries and her treatments, but also for holding police accountable so this type of conduct doesn’t happen again.”

The VPD did not respond to CTV’s request for comment and the City of Vancouver said it would not comment as the matter is before the courts.

“Hopefully police will learn from this experience and there will be an adjustment in training protocols,” said Goodman. “We have a lot of respect for law enforcement, they have a very difficult job to do. But especially in the case of a canine handler, there is a duty to act reasonably and take certain precautions to ensure the safety of the general public.”

McLeod believes the dog attack has changed the trajectory of her life. “I feel like I’ve lost a lot in the process of that happening to me. I feel like I’ve become a bit of a different person after it happened,” she said. “I feel like I’m kind of owed something.” Top Stories

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