It is unfortunate that in many police officer involved shootings (OIS), many victims are those that do not have a voice. It is estimated that in more than 50% of incidences where officers pull the trigger, it involves the shooting of a household pet–namely dogs.
Fortunately, the Ninth Circuit supports the legal right to sue for killing a dog. The claim is generally made for the destruction of property.
“The destruction of property by state officials poses as much of a threat, if not more, to people’s right to be ‘secure…in their effects’ as does the physical taking of them.” Fuller v. Vines, 36 F.3d 65, 68 (9th Cir. 1994). Dogs have been found to be more than just personal effects. Miller v. Clark County, 340 F.3d 959, 968 n.13 (9th Cir. 2003).
Therefore, because the killing of a dog is in effect a “seizure” (in violation of the Fourth Amendment), courts must analyze whether or not that seizure was reasonable.
The instances of reasonable and unreasonable seizures can be numerous. Therefore, it’s best to speak with an experienced attorney that understand police involved shootings with respect to dogs.
We encourage you to contact our offices to discuss your legal issues.