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Dogs


     Monthly Law Journal Article: Civil Liability for Use of Police Dogs, Part 1, 2014 (8) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Civil Liability for Use of Police Dogs, Part 2, 2014 (9) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.   
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Civil Liability for Use of Police Dogs, Part 3, 2014 (10) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.

    Police officers responding to a burglary call found an office entry door ajar and the office dark. After a verbal warning that a police dog would be released, the dog entered the office and bit the upper lip of the woman in the office before an officer retrieved the dog. The plaintiff had fallen asleep in her office and had accidentally triggered the alarm. A federal appeals court, ruling en banc, held that the city was not liable in a lawsuit alleging that its policy and practice of training police service dogs to “bite and hold” violated the arrestee’s Fourth Amendment rights. The force used in these circumstances was not excessive and did not violate the Fourth Amendment. From the perspective of a reasonable police officer on the scene, this level and type of force inflicted was moderate. The city had a strong interest in using the force, and the degree of force used was commensurate with the city’s interest in the use of that force. Because the officers’ actions were constitutional, there could be no municipal liability. Lowry v. City of San Diego, #13-56141, 2017 U.S. App. Lexis 10016 (9th Cir. en banc).

     A man filed a lawsuit against a police canine after the dog inflicted serious damage by refusing to release his bite, as well as against the officers, the county, and the police chief. The dog bit him after he allegedly broke into the residence of his ex-girlfriend and ran off with a television set. The officers were entitled to qualified immunity as no binding precedent clearly established that their actions in allowing the dog to apprehend the plaintiff violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Georgia state law did not allow negligence actions directly against dogs. The county and police chief were entitled to sovereign immunity on state law claims, and the officers were entitled to official immunity as they did not act with malice. Jones v. Fransen, #16-10715, 2017 U.S. App. Lexis 8816 (11th Cir.).

     Officers obtained a search warrant for a residence, and an Emergency Response Team was involved due to the subject’s criminal history, gang affiliations, possession of firearms, and possible possession of cocaine and heroin. Approaching the door, an officer could see dogs barking aggressively and “jumping.” The dogs, owned by the plaintiff, were pit bulls, weighing about 97 pounds and 53 pounds. The officer testified that he “did not feel [the officers] could safely clear the basement with those dogs down there.” The officers shot and killed the dogs.  A federal appeals court upheld dismissal of the lawsuit as there was no genuine issue of facts on either a Fourth Amendment excessive force claim or an inadequate training claim. The court agreed that the officers acted reasonably and that there was no history of “needless killing of animals in the course of searches in the municipality. The dogs posed an imminent threat to the officers while they were executing a search warrant looking for drugs in a house where a known gang member lived. Brown v. Battle Creek Police Department, #16-1575, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 22447, 2016 Fed. App. 293P (6th Cir.).
    A woman walking her brown Labrador retriever, named "Dog." encountered a gray and white pit bull off its leash which lunged at Dog's neck. An officer, driving to another location, received a radio report of a pit bull attacking another dog. The woman spoke to the officer and described her dog. The officer was colorblind, but had not informed the department of this. He shot at the animal that he thought was the aggressor, hitting Dog. The pit bull ran away, and Dog died. A federal appeals court upheld a verdict for the officer in an excessive force lawsuit, which was not against the manifest weight of the evidence. The officer's written responses to discovery questions did not constitute a "script" which he had to recite verbatim in his trial testimony. Saathoff v. Davis, #15-3415, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 11067 (7th Cir.).
     A couple claimed that a deputy violated their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by making a warrantless entry onto their property with the intention of killing their two pet dogs. They also alleged that the deputy and a fellow officer both shot at the dogs even though they were not acting aggressively, killing one and missing the other. The deputies then allegedly moved the body of the dead dog to try to cover-up the fact that she had been shot on the couple's property. If the facts were as alleged by the plaintiffs, the defendant deputy was not entitled to qualified immunity. Mayfield v. Bethards, #15-3074, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 11096 (10th Cir.).
     An arrestee claimed that an officer used excessive force during his arrest, specifically pulling him down three steps after he surrendered, placing his knee on his back, and allowing a police dog to continue to bite him. The officer claimed that he had released the dog only after the plaintiff failed to respond to commands to come out of hiding. He also contended that the dog could not hear the command to cease his attack because of the plaintiff's screaming. Upholding a denial of qualified immunity, a federal appeals court ruled that a jury could reasonably find, if the facts were as alleged by the plaintiff, that the force used was excessive. It was clearly established at the time of the incident that no more than minimal force should be used during the arrest of a non-resisting or passively resisting person.
Becker v. Elfriech, #15-1363, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 8703 (7th Cir.).
     While executing a search warrant on a residence, two officers shot a woman's dog, resulting in its death. A federal appeals court reversed a grant of summary judgment to the officer who first shot the dog. If a jury believed the plaintiff's version of events, it could reasonably conclude that the dog was lying down and only acted aggressively towards the officers after first being shot. As for the second officer who shot the dog, she only did so after the dog bit her hard enough to puncture her leather boots, she did not act unreasonably in believing that the dog then posed an imminent threat. The plaintiff failed to establish, however, that the District of Columbia had notice of a pattern of likely unconstitutional conduct in the shooting of dogs and responded with deliberate indifference. Robinson v. Pezzat, #15-7040, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 5965 (D.C. Cir.).
     A woman returned to her workplace office after going drinking with friends at night. She fell asleep on her office couch and accidentally triggered the burglar alarm in the building when she got up to use the bathroom. Officers responding to the burglar alarm released a police dog which attacked her and bit her upper lip. She sued the city, claiming that a policy of training police dogs to "bite and hold" persons resulted in a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights. Overturning summary judgment for the city, a federal appeals court held that a reasonable jury could conclude that the officers in this case used excessive force by deliberately unleashing a police dog which he knew might well rip the face off of any individual present in the office. The city conceded that the use of force conformed to its policy, and a reasonable jury could found the force to be excessive. Lowry v. City of San Diego, #13-56141, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 5989 (9th Cir.).
     After burglarizing a home, a man saw a police vehicle and fled down an alley, hiding in the above-ground swimming pool in the backyard of a different building. A police sergeant on canine duty came to the location and released his 72-pound dog on a 30-foot leash, announcing his presence two times. The dog started barking by the pool, and three other officers arrived. The plaintiff was then bleeding, and screaming that the dog had bitten him, requesting medical assistance. He was handcuffed in a squad car and then taken to a hospital. Overturning summary judgment for the defendants, a federal appeals court held that the trial judge erred in holding that it was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment to order, as the plaintiff claimed, a dog to attack a burglary suspect who had then ceased fleeing, was effectively trapped, and who immediately complied with police orders. It was disputed whether he had actually been complying. Alicea v. Thomas, #15-1255, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 3792 (7th Cir.).
     A K-9 officer stopped a motorist for a traffic violation, and issued a warning after attending to everything related to the stop, including checking driver's licenses. He then asked for consent to walk his dog around the vehicle, which was refused. The officer continued to detain the motorist until a second officer arrived and then retrieved his dog who alerted to the presence of drugs in the vehicle. A search subsequently found methamphetamine. The detention lasted about seven to eight minutes following the time the warning was issued until the dog alerted. The U.S. Supreme Court, by a 6-3 vote, held that absent reasonable suspicion the extension of a traffic stop in order to conduct a dog sniff constitutes an unreasonable search. On remand, the court should consider whether the detention for the dog sniff was independently supported by individualized suspicion. Rodriguez v. United States, #13-9972, 2015 U.S. Lexis 2807. While the decision was made in the context of a criminal proceeding, the Court's reasoning would also apply in a federal civil rights lawsuit.
     A woman who had been drinking wine drove her car into a ditch and then walked to a gas station where she encountered EMTs refueling their ambulance. They called police after smelling alcohol on her breath and she ran to hide behind the station. A deputy arrived with a police dog, accompanied by other officers and a civilian "ride along." The deputy told the dog to track the woman and said that he was concerned about her wellbeing because she was wearing sandals and a short-sleeved shirt despite cold and wet weather, and feared that she might be injured. He entered a swamp area, slipped and fell, and then looked up and heard screaming as the dog bit the woman's leg. He waited for the woman to stop moving to make sure that she had no weapons. He released her from the dog after 10 to 20 seconds, and called for EMTs to attend to her. The woman claimed that she was squatting to urinate when the deputy sicced the dog on her as officers yelled for her to put her hands on her head. The deputy stated that the woman was belligerent and on her back kicking the dog. A federal appeals court upheld a denial of qualified immunity to the defendants on excessive force claims, finding that a jury could reasonably believe, based on conflicting accounts as to whether the detention-by-canine was an accident or intentional, that the deputy intentionally detained the woman with an unconstitutional level of force. Greco v. Cnty. of Livingston, #14-1203, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 24109 (6th Cir.).
     Occupants of a home sued two officers and a city for a warrantless entry into the home's yard to investigate a tip that two guns were in an abandoned vehicle on the property, in the course of which one of the officers shot and killed the family dog. A federal appeals court found that the officers had no warrant, no probable cause plus exigent circumstances, and had not offered any other basis that would make their entry lawful. The officers therefore violated the plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights and were not entitled to qualified immunity as their actions, under the undisputed facts, would not have been objectively reasonable. Harris v. O’Hare, #12-4350, 770 F.3d 224 (2nd Cir. 2014).
     A private non-profit corporation that contracted with a city to provide animal welfare services received complaints about conditions at a local pet store. Employees of the company found, during a visit to the store, that the animals there lacked water and that the air conditioning was not working. They removed animals and business records from the store and revoked the store's permit to be a pet dealer. The store sued the city, the company, and its employees (in both their individual and official capacities), claiming that the warrantless seizures violated the Fourth Amendment and that removing the animals and revoking the store's permit without a prior hearing violated procedural due process. A federal appeals court held that one employee, who acted solely as a private animal-welfare officer, could not assert a qualified immunity defense to a personal capacity claim. Two other employees, however, acted both as private animal-welfare officers and also as specially commissioned city police officers. They were granted summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity on the procedural due process claims, and Fourth Amendment claims regarding the seizure of the animals. One was granted summary judgment on claims regarding the seizure of the business records, while a second employee was denied summary judgment on the same claims. Qualified immunity was not available to any employees on the official capacity claims. The city had a strong interest in immediately seizing the animals to protect them from squalid and hot conditions without water, and the post-deprivation hearing was an adequate remedy, so their removal did not violate due process or violate the Fourth Amendment. The revocation of the store's permit violated due process, however, as neither a pre-deprivation or post-deprivation hearing was offered. United Pet Supply, Inc. v. City of Chattanooga, #13-5181, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 17900, 2014 Fed. App. 240P (6th Cir.).
     A woman owned a property that she operated as an animal shelter until an ASPCA investigation led to a search of that property, her firing as the county dogcatcher, and her being sentenced for animal neglect. The ASPCA investigator, although a private party, was able under state law to obtain a warrant to search the property, and it directed officers to enlist veterinarians or other persons or agencies authorized by the county prosecutor to assist in the search. Deputy sheriffs entering the property were accompanied by 40-50 undeputized animal rights volunteers who actually carried out the search, with the deputies just there to keep the peace. A federal appeals court upheld an award of damages in a lawsuit claiming unreasonable search and negligence in failing to adequately train or supervise the amateur searchers, resulting in needless property damage. The "incompetence of the amateur searchers is apparent from the reports of the deputy sheriffs," the court noted. Petkus v. Richland County, #13-3700, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 16054 (7th Cir.).
     A state trooper stopped an interstate motorist for speeding, and based on her answers to a few questions, decided to ask if he could search her car for drugs. She refused, and the trooped called for help from a K-9 unit officer to conduct a dog sniff. A two hour search was conducted and no drugs were found. A federal appeals court agreed with the trial court that the K-9 officer could not establish probable cause for the car search prior to the dog sniff. Additionally, there were disputed facts as to whether the dog alerted before jumping into the car and whether the K-9 officer facilitated the dog's entry into the car before probable cause was established, so his motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity was denied. Felders v. Malcom, #12-4154, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 11627 (10th Cir.).
     Police mistook a Hispanic teenage boy and his friends, who were in his own home, for two white male intruders being sought. They pointed guns at them, entered the home without a warrant, and shot and killed the family's pet dog. An excessive force claim could go forward, as the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, indicated that they fully complied with the officers' orders at all times. An unlawful entry claim could also go forward as the officers did not have probable cause in the absence of any information to suggest that the boys were illegally on the premises, and the lack of an objective basis for applying an emergency aid exception, as well as disputed issues of fact as to whether any violence was imminent. The officers were not entitled to qualified immunity. The shooting of the dog did not amount to a deprivation of a familial relationship.
Sandoval v. Las Vegas Metro Police Dep't., #12-15654, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 12395 (9th Cir.).
     A man claimed that while he was sleeping on the ground outside, two police officers came upon him and caused their K-9 dog to bit bite him in the face, arm, and leg. He further claimed that one of the officers used a Taser on him until he was unconscious. The officers said that the plaintiff fled from a traffic stop in his vehicle, and fled his vehicle after colliding with a tree, running in the woods where officers with a K-9 dog found him, and the dog released him when an officer told him to stop fighting with the dog. The officers denied using a Taser during the incident, and the plaintiff did not mention Taser use when receiving medical attention for wounds from the dog. He claimed that a later medical record supported a subjective complaint of a Taser injury, but a nurse's assessment attributed his injuries to dog bites. A federal magistrate recommended that claims against four defendants, including a supervisor, be dismissed because they had no personal involvement in the incident. The magistrate also recommended rejection of claims concerning the supposed use of a Taser, as the plaintiff's injuries were due to dog bites. The magistrate also recommended that claims relating to the use of the dog be rejected, as using the dog was reasonable under the circumstances, so there was no constitutional violation. The trial judge subsequently adopted the magistrate's recommendations and report as its opinion. Clark v. Miller, #1:12cv216, 2014 U.S. Dist. Lexis 71140 (S.D. Miss.). Clark v. Miller, #1:12cv216, 2014 U.S. Dist. Lexis 71139 (S.D. Miss.).
     A police officer was not entitled to qualified immunity for continuing the detention of two vehicle occupants and carrying out the search of their persons and of the car, as well as having a drug sniffing dog smell around the car. The limited investigation allowable after a traffic stop had ended when the driver was given a warning. Any supposed consent was coerced as no reasonable person would feel free to leave during the continued investigation while the vehicle was detained. The continued investigation was not based on any reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, nor was there any reason to believe that either the driver or the passenger were armed and dangerous. Huff v. Reichert, #13-1734, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 4446 (7th Cir.).      When a man was taken by ambulance from his home to a hospital, his two dogs remained behind. In the emergency room, and concerned as to whether he would live, he claimed that a deputy sheriff pressured him to sign a release form regarding his dogs, which authorized county animal control to destroy them, which he didn't realize, as he did not have his glasses and therefore could not read the form. The dogs were killed before he recovered, and he sued the deputy, the hospital, the sheriff, and the county's animal shelter provider. While the trial court granted summary judgment to all defendants, an intermediate appeals court ruled that, while state law official immunity protected the deputy from liability for his decision to ask the plaintiff to sign the form, it did not protect him from liability for the execution of his decision to do so. The Supreme Court of Georgia disagreed. It noted that the owner said that the deputy told him to "Just sign this d* *n form," when the owner was under medication. Such facts, if true, could raise a question of whether the deputy was engaged in an act performed with malice or an intent to injure,which could defeat the immunity. Roper v. Greenway, #S12G2030. 2013 Ga. Lexis 951.
     Two officers were entitled to qualified immunity on an excessive force claim and public officer immunity on a North Carolina state law claim. One officer acted in an objectively reasonable manner in firing a Taser in the dart mode, after a warning, and activating it three times, and then pepper-spraying an arrestee who posed an immediate safety threat and resisted arrest. His crime of property destruction of an address sign was more than a minor crime. Before the force was used, the plaintiff had approached the officer three times, ignoring orders to get back, while saying "Sir, I have lost my mind." A second officer's action in activating his Taser three times in dart mode while the arrestee lay prone and unarmed on the ground while an officer sitting on his back in control was not clearly established as unlawful, as the plaintiff was not then "effectively secured." The Taser was also used several times in the stun mode before the arrestee was fully handcuffed. Two other officer were properly denied immunity on both federal and state claims when they allegedly punched and struck the arrestee because he did not pose an immediate safety threat and was not resisting, and they inflicted severe injury. All officers who were bystanders to the incident were granted qualified immunity as they did not have a reasonable time in which to intervene to prevent harm. Thomas v. Holly, #12-2076, 2013 WL 3722350, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 14437 (4th Cir.).
     The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld a decision of the Florida Supreme Court suppressing evidence of marijuana plants and drug trafficking found in a residence during a search conducted with a search warrant. The search warrant was obtained on the basis of the fact that a drug-sniffing dog that police brought onto the front porch of the defendant's home alerted there. While the police officers could, without a warrant, approach the home and knock on the door, since any private citizen could do that, their bringing of a trained police dog to explore the area around the home in the hopes of discovering incriminating evidence was a Fourth Amendment search without probable cause, as there was no customary invitation to bring such a dog onto the porch, which was part of the home's curtilage, entitled to as much protection from search as the home itself. While this was a criminal case, the same principles would apply in a civil rights lawsuit. Florida v. Jardines, #11-564, 2013 U.S. Lexis 2542.
     The U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, rejected the ruling of the Florida Supreme Court that the state had to, in every case, present an "exhaustive set of records" concerning the reliability of a drug sniffing dog used to find probable cause to search a vehicle. The proper test as to whether probable cause existed was the totalty of the circumstances test. In this case, there was evidence of the dog's training and his proficiency in finding drugs. The officer had probable cause to search the car and the defendant had not adequately contested the evidence of the dog's reliability. Florida v. Harris, #11-817, 2013 U.S. Lexis 1121.
     A number of arrestees challenged the reliance by the police department on "dog-scent lineups" to arrest, charge and hold them. Inculpatory evidence obtained from dog-scent lineups, a federal appeals court held, could raise a strong suspicion of guilt, but was "merely supportive." When used alone, or as primary evidence, it was insufficient to support a conviction. The plaintiffs failed to establish municipal liability, however, and a number of individual defendants were entitled to qualified immunity from liability. Curtis v. Anthony, #11-20906, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 4654 (5th Cir.).
     A man and woman were attacked and bitten by the same canine unit police dog in separate incidents. A federal appeals court upheld the denial of summary judgment to the dog's handler, the chief of police, and the city on excessive force, failure to supervise, and failure to properly train claims. There was evidence that the dog was involved in biting incidents with growing frequency and that his certifications had lapsed. The handler had told supervisors that he had been unable to keep up with maintenance training of the dog and asked repeatedly for time to attend training sessions, only to have those requests denied. The handler was also not entitled to qualified immunity, since there was evidence which could be interpreted as showing that he violated clearly established law by using an inadequately trained dog to attempt to apprehend two non-fleeing suspects, and did so without giving any warnings. There were disputed facts suggesting that the police chief failed to create a needed training policy and ignored complaints about the dog. Summary judgment was also properly denied on state law assault and battery claims since there was evidence to suggest that the handler used the dog with a malicious purpose. Campbell v. City of Springboro, #11-3589, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 24548, 2012 Fed. App. 393P (6th Cir.).
     Police officers were not entitled to qualified immunity on a stopped motorist's claim that they allowed a police dog "to conduct a five-to seven-minute attack against a person who ran from his car after a traffic stop, where he is lying face down with his hands exposed, no longer resisting arrest, and repeatedly pleading with the officers to call off the dog because he surrenders." The motorist was stopped for allegedly going through a stop sign, and was driving with a suspended licensed. The initial decision to use the dog to track and subdue the motorist when he ran was not unlawful, but, if the facts were as the plaintiff claimed, they allowed the dog's attack to continue for too long. Edwards v. Shanley, #11-11512, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 640 (11th Cir.).
     Two undercover animal services officers visited a couple's home, where they observed some puppies that the couple advertised in a local newspaper. The couple had bred their two pet bulldogs to produce the puppies for sale. Uniformed animal service officers then knocked on the door, entering and seizing all nine of the dogs, claiming, erroneously, that the couple had violated an ordinance about breeding dogs. All dogs were taken to an animal shelter, where they had microchips placed in them, and the adult dogs were neutered. The couple was asked for over $1,000 for the return of the dogs. It turned out that the couple was not violating the ordinance, as they were not operating an unlicensed Class A kennel, as defined in the ordinance. The initial entry by the undercover officers did not violate the Fourth Amendment, as it was pursuant to the couple's newspaper ad inviting the public to come inspect the dogs for sale. The subsequent entry by the uniformed officers without a warrant, for law enforcement purposes, however, raised valid Fourth Amendment claims. The officers may have also violated procedural due process by depriving the couple of their property, the dogs and the ability to breed them, without written notice of the alleged violation on which the seizure was based. O'Neill v. Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, #10-5699,  2011 U.S. App. Lexis 22530 (6th Cir.).
     A deputy went to a store in response to a store security officer's detention of a suspected thief. He told the suspect he was giving her a citation to appear in court, and walked outside with her to search her car. After she gave him the keys, he found what he believed to be methamphetamine inside and arrested her. When she jerked away, a struggle ensued, and she ended up on the ground, lying on her stomach, with the deputy laying on her, calling for backup on a handheld radio. The deputy summoned his dog, which was in his car, when she continued to struggle. The dog bit the woman's head twice and released its hold when backup arrived. The woman suffered injuries to her scalp and hair. Overturning summary judgment for the defendants in the woman's excessive force claim, a federal appeals court found that the trial court had ruled erroneously in ruling that success on that claim would necessarily imply the invalidity of her criminal conviction for resisting an officer, barring her claim. It was entirely possible to uphold her conviction for resisting the officer, while still finding that the use of the dog against her was an excessive use of force. Hooper v. Cty. of San Diego, #09-55954, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 71 (9th Cir.).
     A federal appeals court has held that a police dog's action in leaping into a car, which was left open by a motorist, was based on "pure instinct" that drugs would be found there and did not constitute a violation of the motorist's Fourth Amendment rights. The dog, once inside, alerted to the areas of the passenger seat and glove box. Evidence including cocaine and cash subsequently found in the glove compartment when officers then conducted a search did not need to be suppressed. While the ruling occurred in a criminal case, the same reasoning would apply in a federal civil rights lawsuit concerning similar facts. The appeals court, after reviewing a video of the incident involving the drug-sniffing dog, rejected the motorist's claim that the officer who was handling the dog had encouraged it to leap into the car. Prior caselaw has held that an interior sniff of a vehicle may be a 4th Amendment violation if the officer facilitates or encourages the dog's entry into a car. In this case, the dog's interior sniffs, "as a natural migration from his initial exterior sniffs, did not constitute a search requiring a warrant or probable cause." United States v. Pierce, #09-3865, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 20212 (3rd Cir.)
     An arrestee claimed that officers illegally entered his home and then used excessive force in attempting to arrest him, including a restrained police dog and the brief display of a shotgun when he emerged suddenly from a bathroom. A federal appeals court found that a female resident of the home consented to their entry. The decision to enter the premises with a restrained police dog and to briefly display the shotgun was not excessive given the arrestee's prior flight from officers, and his involvement in a crime of aggression, child molestation, which he was subsequently convicted of. Harris v. Smith, #09-1130, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 15599 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
     Following a traffic stop, and during investigative detention of the occupants of the vehicle, one passenger laying prone on the sidewalk in compliance with the officers' orders was mistakenly bitten by a K-9 police dog. An officer had ordered the dog to bite or apprehend one of the other passengers. The appeals court, upholding the dismissal of the bitten passenger's federal civil rights lawsuit, found no clearly established law that a Fourteenth Amendment affirmative duty of protection applied to those detained during a Terry-style investigative detention. Forrester v. Stanley, #10-12003, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 18122 (Unpub. 11th Cir.).
     Police searched for a 13-year-old boy who wandered off and got lost after getting drunk at a party. The boy was last seen lightly clad in the cold night sleeping under a bush by a couple who called 911. Officers were unable to find the boy until an officer brought a patrol dog that found the boy under a bush, but who also bit his leg. The boy's father sued the officer for excessive use of force. A federal appeals court found that the dog bite constituted a seizure. It also stated that the officer might have violated the boy's rights by failing to muzzle the dog, but that it was also possible that the dog may have been unable to pick up the boy's scent if muzzled. In light of that, and the fact that finding the boy may well have saved his life, the court concluded that the officer was entitled to qualified immunity from liability. Melgar v. Greene, #08-2393, 593 F.3d 348 (4th Cir. 2010).
     A deputy responding, with other officers, to a call reporting that a man with a gun was threatening his wife, released a police dog to locate the husband in the neighborhood, and then shot and killed the husband when he refused to obey orders to put down his weapon, instead aiming the gun at the officers. The use of the dog, under these circumstances, was neither a use of deadly force nor excessive. Shooting the husband was justified, as it was reasonable to think that he posed an immediate threat to the officers and others. The deputy was entitled to qualified immunity, and the county was not liable on a theory of alleged inadequate training. Thomson v. Salt Lake County, Utah, #06-4304, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 23677 (10th Cir.).
     Use of a police dog to bite a suspect's arm in order to subdue him was not excessive use of force when the suspect was wanted for two serious crimes: a shooting and reckless flight from the police in a vehicle, and when the suspect was reasonably believed to be armed, and had used every method he had to attempt to evade capture. Johnson v. Scott, #08-3317, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 17842 (7th Cir.).
     Public housing residents claimed that "precipitous" seizures and "cruel" killings of their pet cats and dogs by city personnel violated their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Upholding the denial of qualified immunity to a city's mayor on procedural due process and Fourth Amendment claims, a federal appeals court found that killing a pet without the owner's consent is a Fourth Amendment seizure. The appeals court, relying on caselaw from other federal circuit courts of appeal, rejected the argument that the law on the subject was not clearly established. The court did, however, grant the mayor qualified immunity on the plaintiffs' substantive due process claims because of his lack of sufficiently direct personal involvement in the killings, applying the analysis adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, #07-1015, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009). Maldonado v. Fontanes, #08-2211, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 12716 (1st Cir.).
     An officer was utilizing a police dog in a search for a 23-year-old African-American suspect. An 57-year-old Caucasian man, however, claimed that the dog attacked him. He further contended that there was no warning that the dog was being "sicced" on him, and that the officer failed to remove the dog once it was clear that he was not the suspect sought. The dog was allegedly only brought under control after the man's friend made a threat to kill the dog. The court rejected a claim based on failure to warn, finding no clear prior caselaw that releasing a dog without a warning violates constitutional rights, but there were factual issues as to whether the officer improperly failed to intervene once it became apparent that the person being attacked was not the suspect. Such a duty to intervene, the court noted, was clearly established. Trammell v. Thomason, #08-13801, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 13217 (Unpub. 11th Cir.).
     A federal appeals court has upheld a $5 million jury award against a deputy who shot and killed a bicycle rider, including $2 million in compensatory and $3 million in punitive damages. The rider allegedly refused to stop when approached by the deputy for riding without a light on the wrong side of a road. The rider allegedly assaulted the deputy. The deputy released his dog, and the rider then allegedly tried to drown the dog in a puddle, as well as reaching into his pocket and extracting a "shiny" object, whereupon the deputy shot and killed him. Despite the fact that the officer was the sole surviving witness to the incident, the appeals court found that there was evidence that supported the jury's apparent disbelief of his version of the incident. This included evidence that the officer's uniform was not muddied, despite his claim that the decedent pushed him and that they then struggled in the mud, and medical evidence indicating that the decedent's right arm was "virtually useless" due to a prior gunshot wound from three months before. This contradicted the officer's statement that he saw the decedent reach for a shiny object (a pair of pliers later recovered from the scene) in his right back pocket. There was also testimony that it would have been impossible for the deputy "to have seen anything from the claimed view-point." The lesions and bite-marks on the decedent's body, the court remarked, were as consistent with "protective wounds as with an attempt to drown" the dog. A reasonable jury, the court stated, could find that it was unreasonable for the defendant to use deadly force on a "disabled suspect who was attempting to protect himself from the officer's canine." The court upheld the rejection of various claims against the county for inadequate training and supervision, or policies resulting in the excessive use of force. Goodman v. Harris County, #07-20816, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 12663 (5th Cir.).
     A local ordinance banning "pit bull" dogs was not impermissibly vague, and was specific enough that it did not encourage arbitrary enforcement. Ruling on dog owners' challenges to the ordinance, a federal appeals court held that there was no showing that the "human/companion animal" bond involved a constitutionally protected liberty interest, so that strict scrutiny analysis would not apply to the ordinance. The plaintiffs, however, did assert a possibly viable claim that the ordinance did not have a rational relationship to a legitimate government interest, so further proceedings were required on their substantive due process claims. Dias v. Denver, #08-1132, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 11163 (10th Cir.).
    A federal appeals court has upheld a $1.5 million award to a man bitten by a police K-9 dog. The court stated that the amount of the award was not "grossly excessive or monstrous." Four officers allegedly allowed the dog to enter the fenced backyard of a house where the man was sleeping outside. The plaintiff was not the suspect the officers sought, but was attacked when the dog saw him. A total of almost $1.1 million in compensatory and punitive damages was awarded to the plaintiff and his wife by a jury, and the trial judge added an award of $516,000 in attorneys' fees and costs. Rogers v. City of Kennewick, #07-35645, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 27469, 304 Fed. Appx. 599 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
     Man's claim that a county animal shelter mistakenly killed his pet dog was insufficient to show a violation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or the Fourth Amendment, since the claim essentially was for negligence or accident, rather than a violation of civil rights. Raiford v. Greenville County Animal Shelter, #6:09-0287, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 20367 (D.S.C.), magistrate's recommendation adopted by Raiford v. Greenville County Animal Shelter, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 20173 (D.S.C.).
     Deputy sheriff acted reasonably in using a canine to catch an armed robbery suspect who was engaged in actively fleeing. Because this deputy was not engaged in an excessive use of force, a fellow deputy had no duty to intervene. Crenshaw v. Lister, No. 0814289, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 2294 (11th Cir.).
     Woman allegedly attacked and injured on public property by a privately owned dog while walking home from work failed to show that a city was liable for her injuries under either federal civil rights law of Texas state law, despite her argument that the city's past failure to adequately enforce its animal control laws was a due process violation that had resulted in the attack. The plaintiff claimed that, on "one or more occasions prior to [the date of the attack]. . . the dog attacked a human” within the city and that the city knew that but, contrary to the provisions of its animal control ordinance, did not seize the dog and deliver it to an animal control shelter, declare it a vicious animal, notify the owners of or conduct a hearing to declare the dog vicious, and “did not condition the city’s release" of the dog to its owners. The city, however, did not own, use, or possess the dog. "There is no allegation whatever in the complaint that the city or any city officer or employee or anyone acting for the city ever had any intent to injure plaintiff or anyone else, or knew of any danger to plaintiff or to any particular, identifiable discrete group including plaintiff (as distinguished from members of the public at large within the city). ... [N]or is it in anyway alleged that the city ever did anything to the dog which made it more vicious or changed it in any way." Jaramillo v. City of McAllen, Texas, No. 08-40308, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 275 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
     While officers were attempting to catch a fleeing suspect, their police dog bit a man who was in a friend's backyard. The officer controlling the dog allegedly failed to immediately call off the dog, even though the man, who was an older white male, had no resemblance to the young black suspect being pursued. While a reasonable jury could have concluded that this was an excessive use of force, the officer was entitled to qualified immunity on Fourth Amendment excessive force claims. It was not clearly established that the use of non-deadly canine force to attempt to catch a fleeing suspect without giving a verbal warning was a Fourth Amendment violation. Trammell v. Thomason, No. 3:06-cv-984, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 44210 (M.D. Fla.).
     Use of a police dog to catch a suspect running away from a stolen car and hiding in a swamp at night did not violate the suspect's rights. The use of the dog was not objectively unreasonable. The court also rejected state law claims because the officer did not act in bad faith or in a malicious manner. Pace v. Ahler, No. 07-13045, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 13228 (Unpub. 11th Cir.).
     Police officers did not violate a motorist's rights in deploying a dog against him. The plaintiff reached into his vehicle after being asked to put his hands up, and the officer gave him a warning before releasing the dog. Further, even by the plaintiff's own version of the events, he continued to resist after the officers deployed the dog. Under the circumstances, the officers did not act unreasonably in waiting to call off the dog until the arrestee was properly secured in the police vehicle. Jones v. Wild, No. 07-6526, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 18132 (4th Cir.).
     The force used against an arrestee, including the use of a K-9 police dog, were objectively reasonable. While his injuries were "severe," they resulted from his own actions in running away and hiding in a dark and densely vegetated swamp area to avoid being captured. Even if the officer were assumed to have used excessive force, he would be entitled to qualified immunity, as he had not violated any clearly established constitutional right. The court also ruled that the officer, having not acted maliciously or in bad faith, was not liable for assault and battery under Florida state law. Pace v. City of Palmetto, No. 8:05-CV-1221, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 42407 (M.D. Fla.).
     Man bitten by released police dog failed to show either that city's policies on use of dogs were unlawful (despite their license on when an officer should issue a warning before directing a dog to bite and hold and suspect) or that there was a history of the city's officers unreasonably using dogs to apprehend suspects. Officer acted with deliberate indifference in failing to provide such a warning. Stabla v. City of Brooklyn Park, No. 04-2538, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 11602 (8th Cir.).
     Officers who searched the plaintiff's house without a warrant were entitled to qualified immunity because the information they had at the time of their entry indicated to them that a number of her dogs, seen and heard barking inside the apparently uninhabited, partially renovated house, lacking heat and electricity on a cold day, were in urgent need of assistance. There was no clearly established law as to whether officers could make a warrantless entry into a home to provide emergency assistance to animals. Shapiro v. City of Glen Cove, No. 05-3827, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 12138 (2nd Cir.).
     Sheriff's deputy might not be entitled to immunity under Ohio law from individual liability for injuries his police dog inflicted by jumping on an 85-year-old woman causing her to suffer a broken hip. The incident occurred while the deputy was getting ready to leave for work, and when he left his dog off a leash to go relieve himself. Hicks v. Allen, No. 2005-A-0002, 2007 Ohio App. Lexis 614 (11th Dist.).[N/R]
     A lone officer, who came upon an incident involving two people engaged in a fight, along with a third person who jumped into the fight to try to stop it, acted reasonably under the circumstances in releasing his police dog which bit one of the individuals. Moore v. Vangelo, No. 05-4309, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 3156 (3rd Cir.).[N/R]
     The use of a drug-sniffing dog to sniff outside a motorist's vehicle was not a search under the Fourth Amendment, so there was no requirement that the officers get the motorist's consent before using the dog in this manner. The use of the dog sniff on the outside of the car did not change the valid traffic stop into an unreasonable seizure. Hugueley v. Dresden Police Department, No. 05-1348, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 4922 (W.D. Tenn.). [N/R]
     Officers could be found to have unconstitutionally seized a man by ordering a dog to find and bite him when he was accused of minor traffic misdemeanor offenses, there was no evidence that he posed a threat to their safety, and he was allegedly not trying to evade arrest by running away. Additionally, the question of whether or not the officers were looking for this specific suspect was irrelevant to the issue of whether or not they seized him for Fourth Amendment purposes, so long as they acted intentionally, and his seizure by the dog was the result of their actions. Rogers v. City of Kennewick, No. 05-35300, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 27064 (9th Cir.). [N/R]
     Officers who allegedly used police dog to subdue unarmed mentally ill suspect trespassing on a neighbor's property, who broke a window, were not entitled to summary judgment on a federal civil rights claim contending that this was an unreasonable use of force. The court was unable to determine, from the record, whether the officers used the dog because they reasonably thought the suspect was a threat to their physical safety after he engaged in what was characterized as lunging activity, or whether the dog was used simply because the man was non-compliant. Summary judgment was, however, granted to the officers on the plaintiff's negligence claim. Gander v. Wood, No. 05-6229, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 74774 (D. Ore.). [N/R]
     Officer did not act unreasonably during plaintiff's arrest by shooting and killing his pit bull. Evidence showed that witnesses saw the dog growling, being aggressive, and advancing towards the officer, justifying the officer's actions. Chambers v. Doe, No. Civ. 04-415, 2006 U.S.Dist. Lexis 69965 (D. Del. 2006). [N/R]
     California appeals court upholds jury's rejection of arrestee's argument that use of police dog to find and restrain him was an unreasonable use of force, and trial judge's refusal to give jury instructions on deadly force, since the "use of a trained police dog does not constitute deadly force." Thompson v. Co. of Los Angeles, #B174594, 2006 Cal. App. Lexis 1278 (2nd App. Dist. 2006). [2006 LR Oct]
     Police chief was not entitled to qualified immunity on a Fourth Amendment claim that he acted unreasonably in shooting and killing a family's pet dog while it was in their enclosed backyard, mistakenly believing that it was a loose dog that he had earlier pursued through the neighborhood. Andrews v. City of W. Branch, No. 05-1188, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 18748 (8th Cir.). [2006 LR Sep]
     Police officer did not use excessive force by using a dog to subdue an arrestee when the suspect was resisting the officers by kicking and thrashing his legs after having led officers in a car chase and then entered a private residence while under the influence of cocaine, opiates, cannabis and alcohol. Strickland v. Shotts, No. 05-1050, 155 Fed. Appx. 908 (7th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
     Federal civil rights lawsuit by arrestee claiming excessive use of force in the use of police dogs to subdue him was properly dismissed without prejudice when the plaintiff used a false name to file his complaint. This prejudiced the defendant police officers by denying them access to any additional information that might be available under the arrestee's true name, and his true name was not disclosed until his testimony at trial. Zocaras v. Castro, No. 03-22034-CIV, 232 F.R.D. 694 (S.D. Fla. 2005). [N/R]
     Because city policy possibly allowed the use of dogs to catch and bite suspects without verbal warnings, summary judgment was improper in excessive force lawsuit brought by homeless man bitten by dog while lying on the floor in a shelter for public toilets. Officer controlling dog, however, was entitled to qualified immunity. Szabla v. City of Brooklyn Park, No. 04-2538, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 26152 (8th Cir.). [2006 LR Jan]
     Police officer was not entitled to summary judgment in lawsuit by arrestee claiming excessive use of force in release of police dog, when it was disputed whether or not he received a warning before the dog was released. Court finds no evidence, however, to support a claim of deliberate indifference on the part of the city in adequately training the police dog. Rather, the evidence showed both that the dog was "extensively" trained, and that the city had no awareness of any alleged "vicious" tendencies on the part of the dog. Chatman v. City of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, No. 04-3630, 131 Fed. Appx. 18 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
    While city was not entitled to statutory immunity from liability under Minnesota dog-bite statute for injuries arrestee suffered when bitten by police dog, since dog-bite liability statute did apply to a municipality which owned the dog, the officer's decision to release the dog in order to make the arrest was discretionary, entitling the officer and city to official immunity. Hyatt v. Anoka Police Department, No. A03-1707, 700 N.W.2d 502 (Minn. App. 2005). [N/R]
     Officer acted properly, while investigating a prowler call, in stopping the only car observed in the area, which had tinted windows obstructing his view inside, and he and another officer acted properly in attempting to conduct a pat-down search of a passenger outside the vehicle who was known to be a convicted narcotics felon. Appeals court fails to reach issues of whether officers acted lawfully, however, in shooting passenger, and in hitting him and using a dog against him after the shooting, in light of disputes as to whether he was actually armed with a gun and continued to pose a threat after he was shot. Holeman v. City of New London, No. 04-5031, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 21213 (2nd Cir.). [2005 LR Nov]
     Officer's shooting and killing of man's pet dog was not an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment. The officer could have, under the circumstances, reasonably believed that the dog posed an imminent threat to his safety, based on its weight of 55 to 60 lbs, its speed in traveling 15 feet in five seconds, and the fact that it would have reached him in five seconds had he not shot it. While the dog owner did yell that the dog would not hurt the officer, the officer did not have to wait until the dog was within biting range before taking action to protect himself. Dziekan v. Gaynor, No. 3:03CV1486, 376 F. Supp. 2d 267 (D. Conn. 2005). [N/R]
     Owner of dog failed to assert a viable constitutional claim in seeking damages for the loss of 60 days of the companionship of her pet on a theory that her due process property rights had been violated by the dog's detention. Plaintiff ordered to show cause why she should not be sanctioned for making a "frivolous argument in a meritless case." Wall v. City of Brookfield, No. 04-313, 406      A police dog bite of a handcuffed vehicle passenger at the scene of a traffic stop was not a Fourth Amendment seizure, because the police officer did not intentionally use the dog to seize the passenger or direct the dog to bite him. Cardona v. Connolly, No. 3:03CV1838, 361 F. Supp. 2d 25 (D. Conn. 2005). [N/R]
     Police officers and sheriff's deputy were not entitled to qualified immunity for allegedly seizing "truckloads" of personal property while executing search warrant at residence for the sole purpose of supporting sentencing enhancement in a pending case by proving that the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club was a gang, or for shooting two dogs at the residence. San Jose Charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club v. City of San Jose, No. 02-16329, 402 F.3d 962 (9th Cir. 2005). [2005 LR Jun]
     Trial court properly set aside jury's award of $1 in nominal damages to a man bit twice by a police dog during an attempt to apprehend him. His persistent insistence during discovery that he was not the suspect that the police were seeking at the time, until he admitted during cross-examination at trial that he was, constituted perjury for which the denial of the jury's award was a proper sanction. Chavez v. City of Albuquerque, No. 03-2195, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 4969 (10th Cir. 2005). [2005 LR May]
     Jury could properly find that officer's use of police dog to detain suspect following high-speed pursuit of car was proper when he then believed she was a burglary suspect and was attempting to flee arrest. Exclusion of testimony of expert witness was not an abuse of discretion when his testimony would be irrelevant to whether the officer acted in a reasonable manner. Marquez v. City of Albuquerque, No. 02-2294, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 3299(10th Cir.). [2005 LR Apr]
     The seizure and immediate euthanization of over 200 dogs and cats seized from a woman's trailer home and its attached fenced-in yard did not give rise to a viable claim for deprivation of property without due process of law when the county employees' actions were "random and unauthorized" under state law. This made it impracticable to provide a pre-deprivation hearing, and was not unconstitutional so long as there were available state remedies to compensate the woman for any losses. Bogart v. Chapell, No. 03-2092, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 1650 (4th Cir.). [2005 LR Mar]
     Police officer who shot and killed a dog which had chased and pinned down a man in his back yard was entitled to immunity from liability under a Louisiana statute providing that an officer may kill any dangerous or vicious animal and shall not be liable for damages as a result of such killing. Hebert v. Broussard, No. 04-485, 886 So.2d 666 (La. App. 3rd Cir. 2004). [N/R]
     Arrestee's conviction for resisting an officer did not bar him from pursuing a federal civil rights lawsuit for alleged excessive use of force against him. Ninth Circuit federal appeals court, overturning prior ruling, adopts Model Penal Code definition of "deadly force," but leaves it to trial court to decide whether the use of a police dog against the arrestee was deadly force in this case. Smith v. City of Hemet, No. 03-56445, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 336 (9th Cir. 2005). [2005 LR Feb]
     A man who claimed that he was injured by a police dog because police officers were negligent in failing to control the dog and in allowing it to roam without a leash during a search for suspects could not recover damages in a federal civil rights lawsuit. Recovery for such injuries under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 can not be based on merely negligent conduct, and the plaintiff, who was not the suspect sought, did not claim that the officers intended to have the dog attack him. Cochran v. City of Deer Park, Tex., No. 04-20044, 108 Fed. Appx. 129 (5th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
     Officer was entitled to qualified immunity for police dog's biting of woman who insisted on remaining in the middle of a volatile situation when police and the dog entered her house to arrest her son. Dunigan v. Noble, No. 03-1304, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 24647 (6th Cir. 2004). [2005 LR Jan]
    Minnesota statute imposing strict liability for dog bites on dog owners ruled non-applicable to police dogs in lawsuit brought for damages against police department by wife for police dog's biting of her husband during his arrest. Hyatt v. Anoka Police Department, No. A03-1707, 680 N.W.2d 115 (Minn. App. 2004). [N/R]
     Police officer's use of police dog to stop and subdue motorist who fled on foot after resisting arrest while driving under the influence of alcohol was not excessive force under the circumstances. Tilson v. City of Elkhart, Indiana, 317 F. Supp. 2d 861 (N.D. Ind. 2003). [N/R]
     Police supervisors were not entitled to summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity on arrestee's claim that his rights were violated when he was injured by a police dog while fleeing from an allegedly stolen car. Supervisors could be held liable if they were deliberately indifferent to the risk of harm to suspects from improper dog attacks based on knowledge of past incidents, and their failure to correct the problem through effective training or discipline. Rosenberg v. Vangelo, #02-2176, 93 Fed. Appx. 373 (3rd Cir. 2004). [N/R]
     Wisconsin Supreme Court declines to extend "firefighters' rule," barring landowners' liability for injuries firefighters suffer in coming onto their property to fight fires to injuries suffered by police officers in the course of performing their duties. Wisconsin police officer, therefore, was not barred from pursuing injuries claims against the owners of a loose dog which bit her. Cole v. Hubanks, No. 02-1416, 681 N.W.2d 147 (Wis. 2004). [2004 LR Aug]
    Police dog's biting of bystander rather than pursued car theft suspect was not the result of any municipal policy or custom. No liability for city for alleged violation of bystander's federal civil rights. Roddy v. Canine Officer, 293 F. Supp. 2d 906 (S.D. Ind. 2003). [N/R]
     Arrestee allegedly bitten by police dog while he was handcuffed and in custody did not sufficiently state a claim against the city or police department for inadequate training of its canine handlers when he failed to explain what training would have avoided his injuries. Additionally, it was undisputed that individual defendant trainer of police canine handlers did not instruct them that they could use the force of a police dog biting a handcuffed suspect. Viehmeyer v. City of Santa Ana, No. 02-56157, 67 Fed. Appx. 470 (9th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
     Deputy's use of a police dog to "bite and hold" an arrestee's arm for approximately one minute did not constitute the use of deadly force and it was not excessive force when suspect was wanted for a felony offense of fleeing from police by driving a car in "willful disregard" for the lives of others. Miller v. Clark County, No. 02-35558, 340 F.3d 959 (9th Cir. 2003). [2003 LR Dec]
     Family could not recover damages for loss of consortium or intentional infliction of emotional distress based on county dog warden's shooting of their pet dog. Loss of "love and affection" from death of dog was not the kind of damages family could obtain under Kentucky state law, the shooting did not take place in front of the family, and there was no evidence that defendant intended, by his actions, to inflict emotional harm. Court also refuses to find a practice of destroying impounded dogs by shooting them inhumane, leaving such issues to be decided by the legislature. Ammon v. Welty, No. 1999-CA-001759-MR, 113 S.W.3d 185 (Ky. App. 2003). [N/R]
      Officers who themselves exercised no authority over police dog who was alleged to have repeatedly bitten unarmed suspect wearing only shorts could not be held liable, despite being present, allegedly observing dog biting suspect, and taking no action to restrain the dog. Further proceedings will occur concerning excessive force claims against the officer who allegedly unleashed the dog to subdue the plaintiff. Hinds v. Mohr, No. 02-6320, 56 Fed. Appx. 591 (4th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
     Federal appeals court holds that privately owned pet dogs are personal "effects" protected under the Fourth Amendment from unreasonable searches and seizures, but also finds that animal control officers' actions in shooting and killing the plaintiffs' dogs were objectively reasonable under circumstances where the dogs posed an actual or potential threat to the officers or others. Altman v. City of High Point, North Carolina, No. 02-1178, 330 F.3d 194 (4th Cir. 2003). [2003 LR Sep]
     City's policy of providing training on the most likely situations and problems that could arise in the use of police dogs against arrestees was adequate, and not a basis for imposing liability on the city for injuries arrestee suffered from being bitten by dog. Holiday v. City of Kalamazoo, No. 4:01-CV-161, 255 F. Supp. 2d 732 (W.D. Mich. 2003). [2003 LR Aug]
     Officer's conduct in allowing a dog to continue to bite an arrestee until the suspect raised his hands as the officer ordered did not constitute excessive force, despite the fact that the suspect was in his underwear. Suspect's conduct in running away "inexplicably" from a minor traffic stop gave the officer reasons to be concerned for his and other officers' safety. Officers were entitled to qualified immunity on failure to give a verbal warning prior to using the dog, but appeals court does hold that they should have given a warning, and that claims against the city could be pursued for failure to require such warnings. Kuha v. City of Minnetonka, No. 02-1081, 328 F.3d 427 (8th Cir. 2003). [2003 LR Aug]
     Sweep of high school for drugs with drug sniffing dogs by sheriff's personnel at the request of school authorities, combined with pat-down searches and a strip search of a student in a private room on the basis of individualized suspicion once a package of drugs was found were not unreasonable. Officers also did not use excessive force in allegedly choking a student to prevent him from swallowing a package of marijuana seeds, but their subsequent strip search of him in the school's parking lot was "excessively intrusive." Rudolph v. Lowndes County Board of Education, 242 F. Supp. 2d 1107 (M.D. Ala. 2003). [2003 LR Jun]
     Police officer was entitled to qualified immunity for using dog to "bite and hold" suspect who had fled from the scene of a minor traffic accident in 1994, as was police chief who allegedly promulgated a "bite and hold" policy for the use of police dogs. There was no clearly established law at the time indicating that such use of dogs was an excessive use of force. Jarrett v. Town of Yarmouth, #00-2498, 309 F.3d 54 (1st Cir. 2002). [2003 LR May]
     Building owner was not liable to deputy sheriff for dog bite suffered while attempting to serve process on a tenant in an eviction case. Landlord was not reasonably on notice of the presence of the dog on the building premises simply because of dog droppings in the yard. Landlord was also entitled to protection under the one-bite rule even if they knew of the dog's presence, when they had no knowledge of this dog's dangerous propensities. Montier v. Silver Lake I, L.P., #2001-514, 813 A.2d 978 (RI 2003). [N/R]
    Under District of Columbia law, a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress could be based on officers' alleged unlawful entry into and search of arrestee's home without justification, killing of his pet dog inside the residence, and failure to secure the premises after his arrest, resulting in the loss of property alleged to have a value in excess of $6,000. Amons v. District of Columbia, 231 F. Supp. 2d 109 (D.D.C. 2002). [N/R]
     Federal appeals court upholds criminal conviction of officer for violating suspect's civil rights by allegedly releasing police dog to bite him without any warning while he had his hands up, was not resisting police orders, and had not made any sudden moves. Trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of officer's alleged subsequent involvement in the misuse of police dogs, or in allowing the government to present rebuttal expert witness testimony that the officer's use of her dog in the immediate case was improper. U.S.A. v. Mohr, #01-5002, 318 F.3d 613 (4th Cir. 2003). [2003 LR Apr]
     Mere conclusory allegations that the city had a policy of not adequately training officers in the use of dogs could not be the basis for federal civil rights liability for the city, in the absence of any evidence. Officer had objective reasonable basis for belief in probable cause for arrest for drug violation when dog located suspect during search for drug dealer, suspect possessed rolling papers, and friend with arrestee admitted he had been smoking marijuana. Collins v. City of Manchester, 208 F. Supp. 2d 123 (D.N.H. 2002). [N/R]
     Officers acted objectively reasonably in forcing a diabetic motorist to a stop and forcibly removing him from his truck through the use of pepper spray, baton blows, and bites from a police dog when his erratic driving was serious enough that people might have been killed by it, and he refused to comply with lawful orders once he was stopped. Moore v. Winer, 190 F. Supp. 22d 804 (D. Maryland 2002). [2002 LR Jul]
     Police officer did not use excessive force in releasing a police dog into the woods to search for and hold a suspect when he had reason to belief he had already committed serious crimes, including threatening someone with a gun while intoxicated, and posed an immediate threat to the safety of the officers and the public and was actively attempting to evade capture through flight. Neeley v. Samis, 183 F. Supp. 2d 672 (D. Del. 2002). [N/R]
     Officer's use of a police dog trained in a bite-and-hold technique to find and apprehend a motorist who ran away after what seemed to be a routine traffic stop was not an excessive use of force under the Fourth Amendment; motorist's fleeing gave officer some grounds to believe that more serious misconduct might have been involved. Officer did not know, for a fact, that motorist was unarmed. Kuha v. City of Minnetonka, 176 F. Supp. 2d 926 (D. Minn. 2001). [2002 LR May]
     346:149 California jury awards $400,000 to boy for unprovoked attack at age three by police dog running loose. Quiroz v. City of Richmond, Nos. C98-00553 c/w C98-02454 (Contra Costa Co., Calif. Super. Ct.), June 29, 2001, reported in The National Law Journal, p. B3 (Sept. 3, 2001).
     344:119 A police dog is not a "person" who can be sued for violation of civil rights under color of state law; federal appeals court also upholds enforceability of plaintiff's release agreement which barred his suit against officer. Dye v. Wargo, No. 00-3250, 253 F.3d 296 (7th Cir. 2001).
     [N/R] Officer was not entitled to absolute immunity for his alleged command to his dog to attack an arrestee after the arrestee had complied with the officer's orders to stand and place his hands on his head. Griggs v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, #00-7108, 232 F.3d 917 (D.C. Cir. 2000).
     339:36 African-American arrestees stated claim for racial discrimination based on assertion of city practice or custom of using pepper spray and excessive force against them based on race; alleged breaking of arrestee's arm, use of pepper spray against him, and biting by police dog during "unnecessary" subduing was conduct which, if true, no reasonable officers could have believed was warranted. Wilkerson v. Thrift, 124 F. Supp. 2d 322 (W.D.N.C. 2000).
     334:150 Federal appeals court upholds jury verdict in favor of officer who used police dog to subdue an auto theft suspect; plaintiff's two prior felony convictions, based on no contest pleas, were properly used to impeach his testimony; plaintiff was not entitled to an explicit jury instruction concerning "alternative courses of action" available to the officer or the officer's alleged "lack of probable cause" to believe that the plaintiff was armed. Brewer v. City of Napa, #98-16460, 210 F.3d 1093 (9th Cir. 2000).
     334:155 New trial granted in lawsuit over police dog's biting of arrestee; prospective jurors who indicated, during questioning, that they would have difficulty in awarding damages for pain and suffering unless it involved a condition that the plaintiff would suffer from for life should have been dismissed for cause. Pacot v. Wheeler, No. 4D99-0269, 758 So. 2d 1141 (Fla. App. 2000).
     326:20 Police officers did not violate dog owner's property rights when they shot and killed her pit bull, which had just bitten a woman and was coming towards them and ambulance attendants in a menacing manner; city did not act with deliberate indifference to plaintiff's rights by limiting training to situations involving mad dogs with rabies. Hooper v. City of Detroit, 50 F.Supp. 2d 689 (E.D. Mich. 1999).
     328:52 Federal appeals court rules that the random suspicionless use of drug-sniffing dogs to sniff students in a high school was an unreasonable search, particularly when there was no "drug crisis" or "drug problem" at the school; deputy sheriff, however, was entitled to qualified immunity from liability for civil rights violations because the law on the subject was not clearly established at the time of the sniff. B.C. v. Plumas Unified School District, No. 97- 17287, 192 F.3d 1260 (9th Cir. 1999).
     321:135 Ex-boyfriend, under court order not to come within 100 feet of former girlfriend's apartment, had no legitimate expectation of privacy inside it; he had no standing, therefore, to assert a Fourth Amendment claim based on officers' warrantless entry into apartment to arrest him for violating order; further proceedings ordered on whether officers used excessive force in using dog against him. Washington v. St. Albans Police Dept., 30 F.Supp. 2d 455 (D. Vt. 1998).
     318:94 Jury awards $255,000 in damages to owners of pet dog shot and killed by officers in the yard of owner's home; officers claimed that dog jumped at them, while plaintiffs argued that dog merely stared at officers, was arthritic, and was unable to leap in the air. Fuller v. City of Richmond, U.S. Dist. Ct. N.D. Cal (Dec. 30, 1998), reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, p. A15 (Dec. 31, 1998).
     316:53 Man bites dog--multiple times; federal court orders arrestee to pay Oklahoma highway patrol $2,263 for medical expenses of police dog he injured while trying to flee from arrest for cocaine offenses. U.S. v. Stemmons, U.S. Dist. Ct. Oklahoma, reported in The Natl. Law Jour., p. A23 (Feb. 15, 1999).
     316:52 Update: Federal appeals court reinstates lawsuit against officer for releasing a dog into a house suspected of harboring a burglar, when a resident had assured officers that no one was legally in the house; dog bite constituted a Fourth Amendment seizure. Vathekan v. Prince George's County, No. 96-2246, 154 F.3d 173 (4th Cir. 1998).
     313:5 Officer and police chief were not entitled to qualified immunity from liability in case where burglary suspect complained about overlong duration and extent of force of police dog's bite. Watkins v. City of Oakland, Cal., #96-17239, 145 F.3d 1087 (9th Cir. 1998).
     309:132 Mere presence of drug sniffing dog in children's bedroom during execution of arrest warrant for their mother did not, without more, violate children's rights; dogs did not sniff children or exhibit aggressive behavior. Matheny v. Boatright, 970 F.Supp. 1039 (S.D. Ga. 1997).
     306:86 Federal appeals court rules that use of police dog to subdue fleeing suspect was not the use of deadly force in absence of circumstances under which there was "more than a remote possibility of death." Vera Cruz v. City of Escondido, 126 F.3d 1214 (9th Cir. 1997).
     {N/R} Officer who shoved man to keep him out of the clutches of lunging police dog, causing a fall which allegedly caused injury, did not use excessive force. Palacios v. City of Oakland, 970 F.Supp. 732 (N.D.Cal. 1997).
     289:5 Federal appeals court rules that evidence of alleged unconstitutional policies concerning use of dogs against suspects was properly excluded during trial of claims against only individual police officers; further rules that, once jury found that no unreasonable force was used in this one instance, city and police chief were entitled to judgment on claims against them for alleged unconstitutional policy Quintanilla v. City of Downey, 84 F.3d 353 (9th Cir. 1996).
     293:70 Officer was entitled to qualified immunity from liability for releasing a dog into a house suspected of harboring a burglar, when a resident had assured officers that no one was legally in the house; officer not liable for dog's biting of sleeping occupant who no one knew was inside Vathekan v. Prince George's County, Md, 935 F.Supp. 699 (D.Md 1996).
     293:71 Use of police dog to pursue and hold intoxicated driving suspect who was resisting and fleeing arrest was not an excessive use of force; officer did not know whether suspect was armed, and severity of his injuries were, in part, attributable to his own actions in resisting the dog Carey v. Cassista, 939 F.Supp. 136 (D.Conn 1996).
     {N/R} Also see: Shannon v. City of Costa Mesa, 1995 U.S. App. Lexis 2236 (9th Cir. 1995), (unpublished opinion, reported in table at 46 F.3d 1145, 1995 U.S. App. Lexis 7342, cert denied 1995 U.S. Lexis 5511), (officers acted reasonably in releasing a dog when a suspect was "actively resisting arrest when he hid in the bushes and did not come out after the canine announcement"); Brooks v. City of Santa Ana, 1995 U.S. App. Lexis 2236 (9th Cir. 1995), (unpublished opinion, reported in table at 46 F.3d 1145, 1995 U.S. App. Lexis 7342, cert denied 1995 U.S. Lexis 5511), (decided with Shannon), (law was not clearly established such that reasonable officers would have known that their actions in deploying a dog in a search for a felony hit-and-run arrestee, who escape from custody and hid in foliage violated a clearly established right); Kerr v. City of West Palm Beach, 875 F2d 1546 (11th Cir. 1989), (trial court properly denied injunctive and declaratory relief against city's policies on use of police dogs); Robinette v. Barnes, 854 F2d 909 (6th Cir. 1988), (circumstances of arrest of burglary suspect hiding inside a darkened building justified the use of a police dog who bit the suspect on the neck); and Fikes v. Cleghorn, 47 F.3d 1011 (9th Cir. 1995), (use of police dog who bit fleeing suspect was not excessive use of force).
     280:53 Plaintiff's claims against police officer and against county should be tried separately when evidence of county's customs and policies, including past alleged incidents of police misconduct, would be prejudicial to officer's defense Dawson v. Prince George's County, 896 F.Supp. 537 (D.Md 1995).
     280:55 Arizona trial court erred in dismissing lawsuit against city for officer's use of dog in restraining arrestee; later amendment to strict liability dog bite statute did not apply retroactively to bar claim against city, although city had possible defense if force used was reasonably needed to effect the arrest Weekly v. City of Mesa, 888 P.2d 1346 (Ariz App. 1995).
     265:6 Federal appeals court rules that use of police dog to apprehend bank robber was reasonable; use of dog to subdue him did not constitute excessive force when he failed to submit to arrest and continued to struggle Mendoza v. Block, 27 F.3d 1357 (9th Cir. 1994).
     269:70 Federal appeals court orders trial on whether city's alleged policy of using police dogs trained to bite hard and hold all concealed or fleeing suspects constituted a policy authorizing the unreasonable use of force Chew v. Gates, 27 F.3d 1432 (9th Cir. 1994).
     Police chief and officers who established policy on use of dogs and trained dogs were entitled to qualified immunity from damages in suit brought by suspect bit by police dog during arrest; use of dog was objectively reasonable under the circumstances Chew v. Gates, 744 F.Supp. 955 (CD Cal 1990).
     Police department's canine policy admitted as evidence in excessive force suit Peraza v. Delameter, 722 F.2d 1455 (9th Cir. 1984).
     Unleashing dog on arrestee constitutes Section 1983 claim Luce v. Hayden, 598 F.Supp. 1101 (D.Maine 1984).


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