Police K9 spars with three bears in B.C., then tracks down suspected criminal

PORT ALBERNI, B.C. – A Vancouver Island police dog named Rook has proven to be more than a rookie by protecting his handler from a black bear and her two cubs and then going on to catch a suspected criminal.

The donnybrook broke out at about 4:40 a.m. Wednesday when Const. Jarrod Trickett of the Port Alberni RCMP was awoken by a call asking him to track a suspect with his seven-year-old German shepherd.

Trickett, who hails from Newfoundland, said he got Rook out of the kennel, opened up the rear of his truck and then noticed what appeared to be three black mounds about six metres away.

Rook was standing by his side and went into protection mode immediately.

“He’s looking right at them, and I didn’t have a chance to say ‘no’ and he was on top of them,” Trickett said. “He went after the three bears, got in a scrap with them.”

The canine sent one of the cubs up a telephone pole and continued to battle the other two bruins. Trickett said he yelled at the top of his lungs “back” to break off the brawl.

“After probably the third time I said ‘back,’ he came back to me, ran right past me, jumped in the Suburban. I went to the Suburban, looked at him, checked him out. He had all his ears, all his eyes, all his paws, all his legs. There was no cuts on him, no blood, no nothing, and he was just all ready to go to work.”

Trickett said he closed the truck’s door, hopped in, turned on the emergency lights and headed down his driveway, when he noticed two of the bears rush by him, running down the road and up a nearby hill where they looked down upon his truck.

“I can almost picture what they were saying in their minds: ‘What just happened.'”

Trickett raced to the call, got Rook out and checked him over again before putting a tracking harness on the dog.

“We tracked the suspect for about a kilometre, kilometre-and-a-half through brambles, over logs, falling in holes, going through mud, going through bush and then we locate the suspect and apprehend him,” said Trickett.

By 6:20 a.m., Trickett was back at the detachment writing up his report.

“I just thought, and I said, ‘What happened. What just happened?’ It was like I had to pinch myself. It happened so quick. It was not your typical morning, put it that way.”

Trickett said he later took Rook to a veterinarian who found nothing wrong with the dog.

When asked if the dog will receive a commendation for his actions, Trickett said that decision will be up to senior Mounties.

“I don’t know what their intentions are, but it’s certainly a good idea.”

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