A man has been charged in Edmonton, after he allegedly struck a police dog in the face multiple times on Tuesday, August 2nd, and is the first to be criminally charged under Edmonton’s “Quanto’s Law.”
The suspect, 33-year-old Ryan James Prystay, was witnessed driving a Dodge Caravan, speeding in the area of 127th Avenue and 9th Street, around 8:15pm that evening. When officers attempted to pull the vehicle over, Prystay fled. This was followed by a high speed chase, involving helicopters, multiple police units, and spike strips to eventually stop the vehicle, which was driving erratically at 120km per hour through the city for roughly one hour. Once the vehicle was stopped, the suspect exited the van and fled on foot.
Jagger, the Police Service Dog, proceeded to chase the suspect. When Jagger caught up with the man, he began to strike Jagger in the face repeatedly. Fortunately, Jagger was not seriously injured, sustaining non life threatening injuries.
“Jagger was assaulted by the suspect, struck in the face several times,” said Sgt. Adam Segin.
Authorities do not believe that any weapons were used in the assault.
Jagger’s assailant will be the first person to be criminally charged under Edmonton’s “Quanto’s Law” – a law created after a Police Service Dog was stabbed to death while pursuing a suspect in October of 2013. The law was created to protect service dogs in Quanto’s name, and took effect in July of 2015.
Under Quanto’s Law, the maximum penalty is a prison sentence of up to five years, and a minimum of a six month mandatory sentence if the service animal was intentionally injured.
Ryan James Prystay is also facing numerous weapons and drug charges, as well as fleeing from an officer, reckless driving, and possession of stolen property under $5000. When police apprehended Prystay, he was carrying 80 grams of methamphetamine, street valued at roughly $6,300. Possessions discovered in his vehicle were a loaded hand gun, ammunition, a hatchet, large quantities of money, and bear spray.
Meanwhile, everything is still “business as usual in the canine unit.”
“Police Service Dogs are highly trained for situations such as these,” said Segin. “[Jagger] is fine, some scrapes and minor cuts around his face, but he won’t miss any time from work.”
There is only one other recorded charge laid for assaulting a service animal in all of Canada. In November of 2015, a man was charged with assaulting a Police Service Dog with a hatchet in Toronto.