A file photo of an RCMP dog. (Campbell River RCMP photo)

A file photo of an RCMP dog. (Campbell River RCMP photo)

Lawsuit claims Kelowna man suffered ‘vicious’ attack by RCMP dog, handler

Fernando Verde claims he was resuscitated at the hospital and needed emergency surgery following the attack

A man who was taken to hospital in August after a run-in with a police dog is claiming he required emergency surgery as a result of the “vicious” attack, which is also being investigated by B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office.

In a lawsuit filed last week, Fernando Verde says he was walking in Rutland on Aug. 1, when he spotted an e-bike that was recently stolen from his friend. Verde claims the bike was in the presence of a notorious Kelowna bike thief known as “Bike Mike.” Upon instruction from his friend, Verde hopped on the bike and rode away from the gas station.

Unbeknownst to him, he was being followed by RCMP.

Verde rode his bike towards the Okanagan Rail Trail, where he eventually came into contact with Const. Reginald Sahay and his RCMP canine.

READ MORE: BC RCMP notify IIO BC of incident involving police dog in Kelowna

READ MORE: Charges recommended for Mountie investigated in Kelowna shooting

Verde alleges that as soon as Sahay saw him, he instructed the dog to attack him. The dog knocked Verde off the bike and once he hit the ground, the suit claims Sahay instructed the dog to continue the attack.

“While the dog was mauling the plaintiff, Sahay was punching and kicking the plaintiff in his head and ribs at the same time,” reads the suit.

Other officers arrived at the scene and despite what Verde claims were “obvious” injuries in need of dire medical attention, nobody called for an ambulance immediately.

Eventually, an ambulance was called and Verde was transported to Kelowna General Hospital (KGH). The suit claims he suffered multiple dog bites and lost a lot of blood as a result of the attack.

“The plaintiff’s injuries were so severe that he lost consciousness and had to be resuscitated at KGH and had emergency surgery to repair his left superficial femoral artery,” the suit claims.

“The plaintiff was kept at KGH for intravenous antibiotic therapy and aggressive wound care.”

Verde has a long criminal record related to property crime offences, but the suit claims he was not charged following this incident.

The suit names Sahay, an RCMP member solely identified as Const. Davidson who the suit alleges allowed the attack to happen by not intervening, the Attorney General of Canada and the B.C. Minister of Public Safety.

“Sahay’s actions were deliberate, flagrant and outrageous as he instructed the dog to attack and maul the plaintiff, while at the same time punching and kicking the plaintiff’s head and ribs,” the claim states.

“Davidson’s actions were intentional and calculated as she made no attempts to stop the dog or Sahay from continuing their assault on the plaintiff.”

None of the claims have been tested in court and none of the defendants have yet issued a response to the notice of claim.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


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