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Court rules the OK for police to shoot barking or moving dogs

Discussion in 'Canine News/Informative Articles' started by Rits, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. Rits

    Rits Admin Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    A ruling from the 6th Circuit Court serves as a warning to dog owners.

    Court: Police can shoot dog if it moves or barks when cop enters home


    A ruling from the 6th Circuit Court serves as a warning to dog owners: Teach your dog to sit still and be quiet or risk police justifiably shooting the dog.

    Mark and Cheryl Brown petitioned the court to hold the city and police officers from Battle Creek, Mich., accountable for shooting and killing their dogs while executing a search warrant of their home looking for evidence of drugs. The plaintiffs said the police officers' actions amounted to the unlawful seizure of property in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

    The circuit court on Monday agreed with a lower court ruling siding with the police officers.

    "The standard we set out today is that a police officer's use of deadly force against a dog while executing a warrant to search a home for illegal drug activity is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment when, given the totality of the circumstances and viewed from the perspective of an objectively reasonable officer, the dog poses an imminent threat to the officer's safety," Judge Eric Clay wrote in the court's opinion.

    Stay abreast of the latest developments from nation's capital and beyond with curated News Alerts from the Washington Examiner news desk and delivered to your inbox.

    In the case of the Browns' two pit bulls, the imminent threat came from the dogs barking and moving around. One officer shot the first pit bull after he said it "had only moved a few inches" in a movement that he considered to be a "lunge." The injured dog retreated to the basement, where the officer shot and killed it as well as the second dog while conducting a sweep of the residence.

    "Officer Klein testified that after he shot and killed the first dog, he noticed the second dog standing about halfway across the basement," the court's opinion explained. "The second dog was not moving towards the officers when they discovered her in the basement, but rather she was 'just standing there,' barking and was turned sideways to the officers. Klein then fired the first two rounds at the second dog."

    After the wounded dog ran into a back corner of the basement, another officer shot the dog rather than seeking help for it.

    "Officer Case saw that 'there was blood coming out of numerous holes in the dog, and ... [Officer Case] didn't want to see it suffer,' so he put her out of her misery and fired the last shot," Clay wrote.

    The court decided that the plaintiffs failed to provide evidence showing the first dog did not lunge at police officers and that the second dog didn't bark. Clay wrote that Mark Brown's testimony that he didn't hear any barking when the officers approached the residence did not have any impact on whether the dogs were a threat to the officers after they entered the house.

    Source: Court: Police can shoot dog if it moves or barks when cop enters home
  2. Rits

    Rits Admin Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    This has me :mad: The dog retreated and was shot. The other dog was simply standing in the basement away from everyone, barking, and was shot. Okay to shoot a dog for barking or moving?? Any strange men that barrel into a home and are yelling (to announce who they are) are going to be barked at by ANY dog. Of course they choose a pic of a pitbull with an awful crop job too...
    • Agree Agree x 6
  3. Drogon

    Drogon Hot Topics Subscriber

    This shouldn't surprise anyone. If they can shoot an unarmed black man running away, they can shoot a moving dog.
  4. Gelcoater

    Gelcoater Expert ThreadCrapper $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    And probably shot at;)

    Yet, some folks can't understand why the government doesn't want you owning a mag that holds more than ten?

    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Drogon

    Drogon Hot Topics Subscriber

    Most warrants require the police to knock and notify the owner not just breaking in the door like we see on TV. There are 'no-knock' warrants but those are not the norm. Most of the time they would let you put the dog(s) in a crate(s).

    Great plan. Shooting at officers serving a warrant.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. DD4MSpock

    DD4MSpock Hot Topics Subscriber

    I hope they appeal this all the way to SCOTUS. I can understand the LEOs shooting a dog that is not "under control" of the owner (i.e. not on a leash held by the owner, or not penned in a room from where they can't escape, or is charging a LEO). But not just "barkng and/or moving." The LEOs should have allowed the owner to secure the dogs in a place that was not under search or had been cleared. Or, at least be allowed to put the dogs on a short leash and held control of them personally. Either that, or called in the dog catcher to impound the dogs, temporarily. But I suspect this wasn't allowed because the LEOs wanted to stay in charge of and dominate the scene... it being a search warrant and all. That's certainly their prerogative and their decision, but those decisions should have consequences. And, no, the owner's illegal activity is not the fault of the dogs. Why should the dogs suffer?

    At worst, the LEOs should have called animal control to impound the dogs for the duration of the warrant search. They should not have been shot, as there were other, less lethal opportunities to control them. I think this sets a very bad precedent for LEOs and dog owners. I fear it will allow for more "complacency" on the part of LEOs when they should consider less lethal options, leaving the owner with no legal remedy against the LEOs. I think an ordinary citizen would certainly be held to a more stringent standard if confronted with the same scenario.

    I'm all for the right of self-defense against a human or animal that is attacking (or threatening to attack) someone. But there should be a credible threat of death or great bodily harm... and "barking/moving" in a manner that is not a "charge" toward someone is not a credible threat.
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Gelcoater

    Gelcoater Expert ThreadCrapper $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    Good post.

    A good arguement for crating overnight, a crated dog is no threat to an officer.
    On the other hand a crated dog is no threat to an intruder.

    We can at least hope the cops use common sense, I I hear tell of training in regards to dealing with dogs? Anyone?

    A thread from a while back, ended well.

    Only in So Cal...pursuit, pit maneuvers, pit bulls.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. DD4MSpock

    DD4MSpock Hot Topics Subscriber

    We never "crated" our dobies, when I was growing up. We had a "mother/daughter" bi-level house. And our dobies had full range of the kitchen and bathroom on the lower level. It was fenced off so the dog couldn't escape. But it could be seen by anyone who'd walk buy.

    Let us hope so. But, in this case, I tend to think that since these were Pit Bulls and since this was a search warrant for illegal drugs, the LEOs involved may have been a little "biased" in their approach. Had they shot Paris Hilton's Chihuahuas, I think the legal result would have been much different....
    • Agree Agree x 4
  9. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    No they cannot shoot an unarmed black man running away. A few officers may have done such a thing and it's unfortunate. Many more have been falsely accused under the false "hands up don't shoot" lie. I don't think this is the place to broach this topic.

    The story here is that it has been upheld in court that the cops have the legal right to do this unfortunate (and it's hard to not consider it cowardly) thing to dogs.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  10. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Yes. If we want our Dobermans to be protectors of the home (and I understand that not all of us do – but I do!) crating them disables them from protecting.

    You have mentioned the gov't not wanting folks to own firearm clips holding more than 10 rounds. It seems the same thing here – when it comes down to it, we are not allowed to own a dog that will protect. Heck, we are not allowed a dog that will even bark. Or move!! Well, we are allowed to. It just may get shot.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    There is not an emoji capable of expressing what I think and how this makes me feel. The thought of a dog getting a hole blown in it just disturbs me so deeply. The thought of my dog having that happen – well, I would probably be the next to be vented.

    This is absolutely horrid.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  12. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I have written here before about this.

    While I understand that if you're a cop entering a home you need to protect yourself so you can return home in the same condition in which you left. I don't mean protect yourself just from a dog bite, but as a cop bursting into a home, you are at risk of being shot or otherwise gravely injured at any split second by humans in that home. You don't need a dog seriously complicating things by distracting you with aggressive behavior, or even biting you.

    Still, there is no excuse for shooting dogs in a fashion at all resembling what is described in this story. I feel it's incumbent upon cops to have more courage than this. You are the cops. You represent courage and force in our society. Suck it up. They ought to be tough enough to remain focused to the point of allowing a dog to get near and even bite them. If an actual (hopefully significant) bite occurs, then the cop might be justified in shooting the dog if it's a high-risk surprise home invasion they're perpetrating.

    Far better would it be for the cops, if they absolutely must burst into homes, to have non-lethal, humane procedures and resources in place to deal with truly aggressive dogs.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  13. strykerdobe

    strykerdobe Hot Topics Subscriber

    The primary goal of any high-risk tactical operation is always safety
    From what was just printed it seems these officers actions were questionable in this incident. Yes I would like to read the whole court ruling! Most newspapers will pick and choose what to print!

    No I don't think they should need to suck it up and allow a dog to get near and bite them. How do you know where the dog is going to bite you? Is the dog going to let go or just hold on with the bite? What if its your upper thigh and hits you femoral artery.

    This is why I hate arm chair quarterbacking after the fact. Because it gets into what if's. Well what if this, well what if they did this and it can go on and on!

    Some things that are considered are which is the most important one is what happened at that exact moment in time, distance of the dog from the officers, actions of the dogs, what the officers were thinking at that exact moment, the officers written reports, witnesses and lots of other facts are considered.

    The primary goal of any high-risk tactical warrant (which a Drug Search Warrant is) is always safety.

    Police Officers shouldn't be expected and don't go to work to be injured!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. DD4MSpock

    DD4MSpock Hot Topics Subscriber

    Pot-->Kettle-->Black. Isn't that what you're doing above? If you can, then so can we!

    I don't disagree. But there are a number of different means of achieving safety without having to resort to the killing of any human or animal. And, IMHO, these LEOs didn't resort to them, either out of complacency (not caring to to strive for 100% perfection because they know the courts and "the system" will let them get away with it... which, in this case, seems to be what happened), or they were biased against either the dog's breed or the owners for being drug dealers. The LEOs could have:
    • Surveyed the house in advance of the warrant service (which for a high profile case, as you say, they should have done);
    • Brought "Animal Control" with them to secure the dogs (having properly surveyed the house and discovering them);
    • Ordered the owners to secure the dogs in the presence of one of the LEOs and have them stay under control of the owners;
    • Used other non-lethal methods to subdue the dogs (OC Spray, etc.).
    On the contrary, law abiding homeowners should not be expected to allow LEOs to murder their dogs unjustly and without any legal remedies in the courts! If the roles had been reversed, and it was a suspect that killed a police dog or a LEOs family dog, PBA's across the country would be clamoring for the death penalty! I'm all for self-defense against a threat to life or the threat of great bodily harm. But one had best be sure that deadly force is used only as a last resort. It's not like they busted the door open as were immediately confronted with guns pointed at them. Certainly the "average citizen" would be subject to that standard if found in the same situation.
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Gelcoater

    Gelcoater Expert ThreadCrapper $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    Anyone know what the ROI is on dealing withe dogs? Does it vary by state or county?

    The rule is pretty straight forward on dealing with humans.
  16. DD4MSpock

    DD4MSpock Hot Topics Subscriber

    Are you thinking in terms of "compensatory damages?" I wouldn't know. I'd think any civil award in a case like this would be more "punitive" than "compensatory." That is, if there can't actually be legislation that calls for a criminal penalty.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Gelcoater

    Gelcoater Expert ThreadCrapper $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    No, stinking autocorrect. ROI, lol. Damn acronyms :D

    ROE, rules of engagement.

    And on the topic of compensatory damages. I'm not sure how it works elsewhere but there was a news story in neighboring San Bernardino county last year or the year before on this.
    Sheriffs dept was there to serve a warrant or something, ignored signs warning of a dog, dog barked and approached and was shot.
    No compensation to the dogs owner and get this, the Sheriff was serving the warrant to the wrong home. They were off by a house or two.

    All that was offered was "We're sorry" .
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  18. DD4MSpock

    DD4MSpock Hot Topics Subscriber

    And that's my point. The fact that the court system will protect LEOs in this fashion allows them to become lazy and complacent. Meanwhile, the individual victim and the general public suffer the loss of "life, liberty and property without due process of law." (14th Amendment). We need to start putting pressure on our legislators to start holding individual LEOs accountable for their actions. More so than is done, now, anyway.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  19. strykerdobe

    strykerdobe Hot Topics Subscriber

    The only arm chair if's questions I brought up were those 3. They were a rebutle answer. Then I said this is why I said I hate arm chairing!
    So I will correct myself. I will not arm chair since I was not their, like everyone else at that exact moment.

    The rest of my post is not arm chairing. It's only some facts (which we don't know all of them from this short article) what the courts used to make their decision.

    Now if the officers didn't use the right protocols or follow procedures of their department. Then they should be disciplined.

    And yes a Police K9 is a police officer they are not considered just "property" like regular pets in most states. They are protected by certain laws.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  20. DD4MSpock

    DD4MSpock Hot Topics Subscriber

    Still, you "armcharied," nonetheless. And if you can, then so can we. Consider it a "surrebuttal."

    But, apparently, that didn't happen in this case, did it? And how often does it happen without video footage of the scene uploaded to social media, to show what actually happened? If there was ever a reason to require LEOs to wear body cams they can't control (i.e. "turn on/off" at their leisure), it's a case like this one. After all, it would certainly help support the claim that the LEOs were "in jeopardy of life or great bodily harm."

    I'm painfully aware, of that. And it proves George Orwell's point.... "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." My point being, having laws that provide for more severe penalties, based on who the victim was or what they voluntarily elected to do for a living, is a denial of "Equal Justice Under the Law" for all the other victims of the same crime. But the greater point is there's an unjust double standard here in the minds of the LEOs. The life of a suspect's dog is worth far less than that of one of their own, in their minds. If they were worth the same, then I think the LEOs wouldn't be as quick to use deadly force, and might try some of those "less than lethal" methods, first.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1

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