For many households all over the world, pet dogs are family. You can’t put a price tag on a family member, but a jury in a recently concluded civil case awarded $1.26 million to a family in Maryland.
The case lasted just 3 days, and it was filed by a family whose dog was killed in February 2014. The amount is perhaps the highest ever given for a police dog shooting. The attorney for the plaintiff added that the verdict signifies what a community expects from its police officials and that in this particular case the killing of the dog was unnecessary and ultimately unconstitutional. If you have been bitten by a dog call a dog bite attorney in San Diego for more advice.
Anne Arundel County police officer Rodney Price was investigating a burglary in the area, and encountered the dog at the home of Mike Reese and his family. The family dog’s name was Vern, and he was a Chesapeake Bay retriever. Officer Price shot and killed the dog, and later claimed that the dog attacked him.
The civil suit was filed against the officer by the Reese family. Mike Reese, who was Vern’s owner, claimed that the police officer didn’t need to shoot the dog at all. Instead of firing his gun, Officer Price could have just used his baton or a pepper spray.
During the trial, Officer Price confessed that the dog did not bite him, and that Vern did not injure him in any way. The police officer also admitted that he pulled out his gun and fired twice, and that he didn’t take any other steps in dealing with the dog before he fired his weapon.
The jury for the case concluded that the dog did not in fact attack the police officer, and that the officer was grossly negligent. The jury also agreed that killing the dog was a violation of the constitutional rights of the plaintiff.
How Common are These Incidents?
It can be difficult to know for sure just how many family dogs are killed by the police, since statistics on this subject aren’t compiled. However, a U.S. Department of Justice specialist who works with the DOJ’s community-oriented policing services office has stated that the numbers of these incidents are increasing, and that as many as 30 pet dogs may be killed by US police each day.
What Can You Do?
It’s hard dealing with the death of a pet, especially at the hands of police officers who are supposed to protect the community. If this has happened to you, we urge you to consult our team of personal property lawyers. San Diego dog bite lawyers can help if you are ever in this situation.
Under the law, pet dogs aren’t considered legal family members. They’re regarded as property. Still, the constitution of the US guarantees citizens the freedom from unreasonable government seizures of property. That’s the legal framework when police officers unjustly kill your dog for no good reason. If this has happened to you, our legal experts can make sure that your pain and suffering is properly compensated.