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Police can shoot dog if it barks or moves, court rules

Posted: 8:01 PM, Dec 26, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-26 22:20:57-05
Police are permitted to shoot a dog if it moves or barks when an officer enters a home, according to a federal court ruling.
 
The decision comes after a 2013 incident in Michigan that left two dogs dead, FOX 32 reports.
 
Police were executing a search warrant on a home, looking for drugs, when they shot and killed two dogs.
 
Mark and Cheryl Brown filed a petition with the court to hold the officers of Battle Creek responsible for the deaths of two pit bulls, according to FOX 32.
 
One officer testified that he shot the first pit bull after it moved a few inches in an alleged “lunge” towards him.
 
The dog then ran away from the officer to the basement, where it was shot again and killed, according to court documents.
 
Another officer reportedly shot the second dog in the basement after it simply barked. According to the 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 court, the Brown family apparently failed to prove that the dogs neither lunged nor barked.
 
Judge Eric Clay wrote in the decision that -- viewed from the perspective of an objectively reasonable officer -- the dog posed “an imminent threat to the officer’s safety."
 
He further wrote,“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."