Police Permitted To Shoot Dog If It Barks Or Moves
Police can now shoot a dog if it barks or moves when an officer enters a home a federal court ruled.
The ruling comes from a 2013 incident in Battle Creek, Michigan. According to court documents, police shot and killed two dogs while executing a search warrant on a home looking for drugs.
Mark and Cherly Brown filed a petition with the court to hold the officers and the city responsible for the deaths of their two pit bulls. They said the officers “unlawfully seized their property in violation of the Fourth Amendment when officers shot and killed two dogs while executing a search warrant.”
One of the officers testified that he shot the first pit bull after it allegedly moved a few inches and “lunged” towards him. The court documents say the dog then retreated to the basement where the officer shot it again and killed it.
Court documents say the officer shot the second dog after it too went into the basement, turned around and barked at the officers. That’s when another officer then shot and killed the dog after it ran into the back corner.
In the court documents the officer saw “there was blood coming out of numerous holes in the dog and…did not want to see it suffer so he put her out of her misery and fired the last shot.”
In the decision the court ruled that Mark and Cheryl Brown failed to show evidence that the first dog did not lunge at police and that the second dog did not bark.
“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 decision. “The standard we set out today is that a police officer’s use of deadly force against a dog while executing a search warrant to search a home for illegal drug activity is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment when…the dog poses an imminent threat to the officer’s safety.”