KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A dog shot and killed by Kansas City officers in 2016 is now the subject of a federal lawsuit filed by its owner.
The civil suit claims the officers abused their authority when they shot and killed the family’s pet while responding to a disturbance call.
The attorney representing the family in this lawsuit says as many as 10,000 dogs are killed by police officers in the U.S. each year. He calls it an ongoing problem.
“This was a pretty terrible situation,” said attorney Eric Crinnian. “It was incredibly distressing to my clients.”
Brandee Buschman rushed to her dog Sierra’s side after she was shot by KCPD officers responding to a disturbance call at her home.
“This isn’t necessarily just about the shooting of a dog, it is also about the Constitutional Rights that we have as Americans to be free from police just kind of doing what they want to do, barging in and shooting somebody’s beloved animal,” Crinnian said.
Crinnian spoke to FOX4 on behalf of his client, not wanting her to talk because of the pending lawsuit, which claims fearing a domestic dispute, a neighbor called 911 and told the dispatcher there was a dog on the property that was, “Not a dog that would attack you”. Crinnian said problem number one was that the officers had no plan for the presence of a dog.
“Problem number two is the fact that once they fired the first shot and scared Sierra away, the second shot when she was retreating became unnecessary and that’s really the crux of the whole lawsuit.”
Home security video showed the officers who approached the house with their guns drawn and knocked on the door. The video showed Sierra burst out of the door towards the officers. The lawsuit claims one of them shoots and misses the dog, who turned to run away and, “posed no immediate threat” While sierra was running away, one of the officers, “took deliberate aim at the fleeing Sierra and fired a second shot striking her from behind.”
KCPD said it does not comment on pending litigation to ensure fairness on all sides, but sent the Department’s Firearms Procedure which states: “Sworn members may destroy a dangerous animal by discharging an approved department firearm to protect the safety of citizens or department members.”
“Most states recognize that animals are still considered property but a lot of states do recognize that animals are a special type of property,” Crinnian said. “These are our companions, our beloved family members.”
Crinnian acknowledged that police usually prevail in cases when dogs are shot and killed. He said it is because officers are protected by qualified immunity and animals are considered property in most states.
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