A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled on November 15th, 2021 that police officer Michael Mays acted 'inappropriately' when he shot the two dogs of Jennifer Livingston, responding to a false fire alarm. Shockingly the security camera footage shows Ciroc, a sixty pound Pit Bull trained to be a service dog, calmly walking towards Mays as if to greet him. Mays instead takes out his revolver and shoots Ciroc in the face. Then comes Rocko, responding to the yelps and cries from the just shot Ciroc. Officer Mays returns the favor by shooting Rocko in the face as well. Both dogs survived with significant injuries.
"When you watch the video, it's just obvious that what he did was just inappropriate,” Mike Padden, attorney for Livingston said. “The dog is wagging its tail. The dog presented no threat to him whatsoever. And then of course the second dog ran out of the house because it heard its companion yelp, and he shot that dog too."
Unbelievably the city of Minneapolis had taken the side of their cruel police officer. Instead of firing him they made a motion in US District court to dismiss Livingston's suit. In the case U.S. District Judge John Tunheim ruled in favor of Livingston stating he would not “approve a declaration of open season on dogs who merely walk towards police.”
The city, with a judgment facing them, decided to appeal judge Tunheim's decision. The three judge panel thus now affirmed the prior decision and allowed the suit to proceed stating "an officer cannot shoot a dog in the absence of an objectively legitimate and imminent threat to him or others.” Of course the city of Minneapolis can decide to appeal the decision to a larger panel of judges and then, upon losing a third time, can apply to the US Supreme Court.
The matter at heart was whether the police shooting of one's dog constitutes a breach of one's constitutional rights. Animals that are killed or injured have no voice as they can't appear in court for obvious reasons. The humans have to carry the weight on their behalf. Far too many courts in the past have ruled against pet owners stating that as the animal is mere property, much like a comfy sofa, the only damage is the cost of the item. In the case of the dog, the amount you paid to own it.
This nonsensical but ever so convenient argument has ruled in most US court cases, allowing police to be extraordinarily cruel with animals. Especially if the individual officer hated animals in the first place. The eighth circuit's opinion goes a long way in creating a decency standard for overly ambitious and callous police officers.