Federal Court Rules Cops can Shoot your Dog for Barking

Ben Keller

Federal Court Rules Cops can Shoot your Dog for Barking

A federal court ruled that cops can shoot and kill your dog if it merely barks at them, something they have been doing routinely for years now anyway.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision of a lower court last week, siding with Michigan cops who shot and killed two dogs during a drug raid after they entered the home with a battering ram, according to the Huffington Post.

After cops busted down the door, one of the dogs only “moved a few inches” and the other ran down to the basement with its back to the cop when it was killed, according to the officers’ testimony referred to in the court’s opinion.

A civil rights lawsuit was filed by Mark and Cheryl Brown in 2015 against the City of Battle Creek, the Battle Creek Police Department and the three cops involved in the raid, which resulted in the couple’s two dogs being killed.

Lawyers for the Browns, who were not suspects in the raid, argued killing their dogs violated their right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure protected by the Fourth Amendment, which was dismissed by a lower court.

Battle Creek police were looking for the father of one of Cheryl Brown’s mother’s children, who they say was selling drugs from their home.

One cop testified the two dogs were sitting on the couch when one of them “lunged” at him, but added the dog had only moved “a few inches.”

Battle Creek cop Christof Klein immediately shot the dog.

 "Battle Creek cop Christof Klein (right)"

Battle Creek Cop Christof Klein (Right)

Wounded, the dog ran to the basement where the other dog had fled upon cops entering after beating down the door.

Klein testified he began towards basement to “sweep” the home for drugs, then shot the dog he’d wounded again when it began barking from the bottom of the stairwell.

[The] “basement was loaded. You’ve gotta look under beds, you’ve gotta do everything, and [the dogs] basically prevented us from doing that, and they were protecting that basement,” Klein claimed under oath in court.

Officer Klein went down the stairs where the second dog was facing away from him in the middle of the basement. He fired two shots into the dog, and she ran to the corner of the basement and was still alive.

Officer Damon Young testified he shot that dog again when she began “moving” towards him from the corner.

Battle Creek Cop Damon Young (Center)

Gang Unit Sgt. Jeffrey Case testified he fired the final kill shot.

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Judge Eric Clay wrote the dogs were preventing the cops from “safely” sweeping the basement, stating the shootings were “reasonable.”

Judge Clay added the cops did not have enough time to develop a plan to deal with the dogs.

“In such a high-tension situation, expecting a dog not to bark is just plain stupid,” Brian Kilcommons, a dog trainer who has worked with the Department of Justice to improve police interactions with dogs, told the Post.

“The worst thing according to this precedent is that every dog barks when a stranger shows up.”

Kilcommons said cops often mistake signs of fear for aggression and pointed out the fact the dogs ran away from cops and into the basement was more “telling” than any barking, even if the barks “sounded aggressive.”

6th Circuit Dog Shooting Opinion by Ben Keller on Scribd


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