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Vancouver police dog mistakenly attacks 87-year-old woman

Click to play video: 'VPD dog attacks senior citizen' VPD dog attacks senior citizen
WATCH: The Vancouver Police Department is apologizing to an 87-year-old woman after a police dog mistakenly attacked her as they chased a suspected car thief. Tanya Beja has the story – Apr 11, 2017

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has apologized to an 87-year-old woman after a police dog mistakenly attacked her while tracking a suspect over the weekend.

Police were looking into a hit and run at East 19th Avenue and Knight Street on Sunday when the driver of a stolen truck ran away.

An officer and his police dog were tracking the suspect and ended up behind a home where the dog knocked over and bit an 87-year-old woman.

Neighbours believe the canine team was following the wrong scent.

“She’s got stitches and she has two bite marks on her thigh and the outside of her thigh,” neighbour Ruben Unger said. “She cut her head open, hitting the cement when the dog took her down.”

The victim was taken to hospital and released hours later. Police met with the victim and apologized.

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“At no point did the dog handler give commands to apprehend this person,” VPD Const. Jason Doucette said. “I think it’s an unfortunate set of circumstances and it was never anybody’s objective here to injure an innocent person. We apologize for that.”

Neighbours said the victim is recovering but shaken.

“She doesn’t want to go out the door now because she’s so scared,” Unger said.

Doucette said the VPD is working to ensure similar attacks don’t happen again.

“We will look for any potential training issues [and] address them immediately if there are any,” he said. “We want to prevent this from happening to anyone else.”

Police said while they focused on the injured woman, the suspect managed to get away.

– With files from Tanya Beja

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