Animals displaying anything but their best behavior may be warranting shots from a police officer’s gun according to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
The ruling was prompted by a claim of unlawful search and seizure made by Mark and Cheryl Brown, of Battle Creek, Mich., against police officers from the city. The couple said the officers shot and killed their two dogs, both pit bulls, while following up on a search warrant looking for drugs in a home owned by Cheryl Brown’s daughter, Danielle Nesbitt. A lower court ruling in favor of the police officers was appealed by the Browns but later affirmed by the 6th Circuit.
“The standard we set out today is that a police officer’s use of deadly force against a dog while executing a warrant to search a home for illegal drug activity is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment when, given the totality of the circumstances and viewed from the perspective of an objectively reasonable officer, the dog poses an imminent threat to the officer’s safety,” wrote Judge Eric Clay.