A jury awarded the owner of a dog shot by Anne Arundel County police $1.26 million after a three day trial.
Vern, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, was shot on February 1, 2014 by an officer who claimed he was attacked by the dog during a burglary investigation at the owner’s Pasadena home.
The jury found that Vern did not attack the officer and that the shooting violated the owner’s constitutional rights and was committed with gross negligence.
Counsel for the plaintiff, Cary J. Hansel, said, “The verdict sends a strong message to the police about community expectations. The duty to serve and protect extends to our animal family members as well. Shooting Vern was senseless, unnecessary and unconstitutional.”
During trial, the officer admitted that the dog did not bite or injure him before the shooting.
The officer also admitted that no other steps were taken to deal with the dog before the officer pulled his gun and fired it twice, killing Vern on the front lawn.