An RCMP police dog set off a discarded handgun while tracking a pair of assault suspects in a wooded area near Calgary.

On Thursday evening, Mounties responded to a reported assault with a weapon at a grocery store parking lot in Chestermere, a bedroom community east of Calgary.

According to the RCMP, two male suspects -- one brandishing a handgun -- had allegedly assaulted another male. When witnesses intervened, the RCMP says the suspects fled the area on foot. No shots were fired.

Officers, along with the RCMP Police Dog Service, soon attempted to locate the suspects.

“While tracking, the police dog located a handgun in a bushy treed area,” a statement released by the Chestermere RCMP said. “During the recovery by the police dog, the trigger was activated and a shot was fired from the handgun.”

Neither the dog, a German Shepherd, nor the police officers were injured. According to the RCMP, the gun is believed to have been used during the assault.

“That’s one of the things that our dogs are trained to do, is find evidence,” Cpl. Curtis Peters, the RCMP’s Southern Alberta communications officer, told

“The dog is fine,” Peters said. “It’s trained to respond and do its job even in the presence of gunfire, so the dog was quite happy to continue to go to work, as was the handler.”

Police believe that the victim and suspects were known to each other. The victim, who was briefly hospitalized, only sustained minor injuries.

RCMP are still looking for the suspects. Witnesses are being urged to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

“I don’t know how exactly the gun went off, if the trigger was pulled, or if the gun is faulty,” Peters added. “But evidently the gun had been tossed while loaded, which is clearly a pretty significant risk to the public. Heaven forbid a child had found it instead of a police dog.”