Article at American Bar Association.
Opinion of the Court with dissenting opinion.
The District Court initially dismissed this case, but the Plaintiffs appealed the dismissal to the Sixth Circuit and by a 2 to 1 margin, the Sixth Circuit reversed and reinstated the case.
The Plaintiffs are dog owners whose dogs were shot during a search for marijuana. The Defendants are the City of Detroit, the police department and the individual officers involved.
The issue at stake was whether the owners forfeited property interests in the dogs due to the fact they were unlicensed. The District Court initially said yes, but the Court of Appeals ruled that they did not forfeit property interests in the dogs.
From the ABA article linked to above:
One of the two officers had testified he had previously shot 39 dogs. As of July 2016, he had shot at least 69 animals, the lower court opinion said.
Not sure if this guy is a police officer or a sociopath with a badge.
And while they arrested the couple for having marijuana, the stupid cops didn’t bother to show up to court, so the charge was dismissed.
There are numerous facts in dispute in this case that will be resolved as the case moves forward to trial, but I get the impression that the court wasn’t buying the officer’s story of being in danger from the dogs.
This case must still be tried in the District Court and much is still up in the air legally, but this opinion puts another VERY MUCH NEEDED check on police. And the opinion established dogs as protected property under the Fourth Amendment. Due process must be had before an owner can be deprived of a dog.
If it is TRULY and for REAL a case where a dog is actually attacking a policeman or a third party and the officer fires in true self defense or defense of a third person, that is well and fine. It appears that is likely not the case with most of the dogs this officer has shot.