Menu

Federal Court Rules Police Can Shoot a Dog if it Moves or Barks When Officer Enters Home

A police officer can shoot a dog if it barks or moves when the officer enters a home, under a new federal court ruling issued this month.

The ruling comes after police in Battle Creek, Michigan, shot two pit bulls while searching a home for evidence of drugs in 2013.

The dogs’ owners, Mark and Cheryl Brown, filed a lawsuit against the Battle Creek Police Department and the city, claiming that killing the dogs amounted to the unlawful seizure of property in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The district court sided with the police officers and the Browns filed an appeal with United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.





The lawsuit states that when officers arrived to conduct the search, Mark Brown told an officer he had a key to the front door and that his two dogs were in the residence. However, another officer testified that he didn’t hear about the comments before police broke down the door.

According to the lawsuit, Officer Christof Klein testified that when he entered the house, a large, brown pit bull jumped off the couch, aggressively barked at the officers and lunged at him.

Officer Klein stated that the first pit bull “had only moved a few inches” between the time when he entered the residence and when he shot her, but he considered the movement to be a “lunge.”

Another officer stated that “the amount of time between the door coming open and the shot was extremely small… maybe a second or less.”

Klien stated that after he fire the shot, the dog “moved away from the officers and towards the kitchen, then down the stairs and into the basement.” A smaller, white pit bull had also gone down into the basement.





“[It] was reasonable for the officers to force entry because they had information that [a known gang member] used the residence to distribute cocaine and heroin, and they did not know whether gang members would be in the residence armed and ready to fire at the officers,” the ruling states.

“[The] officers would not have used the keys Mark Brown offered to give them because the officers would not have had any idea whether those keys were the correct keys. Defendants’ counsel persuasively argued that Mark Brown could have given the officers the wrong set of keys, and the resulting delay could have given somebody in the house the opportunity to destroy the drugs or time to prepare to attack or shoot the officers as they entered the residence,” the ruling states.

Judge Eric Clay stated “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.”

Source: thedailyberries.com

Please share this on Facebook using the button below

No Responses

You should share this!