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It is not unheard of for New York police officers to shoot a civilian's dog. The Department of Justice estimates that roughly 20 to 30 dogs are killed by police in the US every day. 

If a police officer shot your dog, you may have legal options for recovery. Roth & Roth has a team of experienced attorneys who can help defend your rights and explain your legal options. You don't have to face the legal system alone. 

Our New York police dog shooting lawyers will listen to your side of the story. We will analyze and discuss your legal options to help you decide how to proceed and how to best claim your legal rights. 

Roth & Roth has been successfully representing individuals and families throughout the State of New York for over 25 years. If you or someone you know had their dog unjustly shot and killed by a police officer, contact us to discuss your options. Initial consultations are always free and we never get paid unless and until you do.

At the moment, police may shoot your dog for almost any reason. In most cases, the dogs aren't even being aggressive but the police do not have the training to read the dog's behavior. Usually, it’s just a dog being curious and barking and the police just shoot them. In other cases, the owners aren't even the target of an investigation but the police trespass onto the property and then allegedly shoot the dogs in self-defense for a problem they created. One database hosts a collection of news reports of dog shooting incidents that occurred for various reasons, from police responding to the wrong address to cops shooting non-threatening dogs wagging their tails.

Of course, there are times when a police officer may be justified in shooting a dog, such as in self-defense. Unfortunately, there are many reports of police shooting and killing beloved pets in situations that are clearly unwarranted, and until the videos come out no one knows the truth.

When a cop kills your pet, it can profoundly affect you and your family. Many people grieve the loss of a pet in the same manner as a loved one. To see your beloved dog viciously gunned down before your eyes — perhaps even in front of your children — is a traumatic experience that can have long-lasting psychological effects on you and your family. 

Under Federal Law, shooting and/or killing a dog could be a violation of your constitutional rights to the pet as your property, and you can recover damages that go far beyond what is available under state law.   

What can a New York police dog shooting lawyer do for me?

If your dog was the victim of a NY police shooting, you might be eligible to exercise your legal rights. If the shooting was unnecessary or used excessive force, a New York police dog shooting lawyer may file a claim for you in court. Your lawyer can help you recover damages from your losses.

Can I sue the police if they shoot and kill my dog?

If a New York police officer shoots and kills your dog, you may be able to seek legal recourse. Depending on your case's circumstances, the court may find that the officer shot or killed the dog unnecessarily in a violation of your constitutional rights. In this case, you may be eligible to receive damages to compensate you for your losses.

Can police shoot your dog even if it's in your house or yard?

They do but they shouldn’t. 

The police are not allowed to shoot or kill your dog unless it's to protect themselves or in defense of another. The police frequently shoot dogs on private property in fenced-in yards. The police have been known to shoot dogs even in people’s homes. However, it may be more difficult for a cop to defend their actions if the shooting occurred on your property, if the dog was leashed, or if it was on video that your dog was just barking and not snarling or baring its teeth to the police officer or threatening anyone.

In some circumstances, the police have been justified when it's to stop a dog who is attacking the police or another person. 

What should I do if a cop shoots my dog?

If a cop shoots your dog, you should immediately comply with what the police officer tells you to keep yourself safe. You should also gather evidence — photographs and videos are essential pieces of evidence. Look around — if there are any eyewitnesses to the shooting, you should gather their contact details and ask them to make a statement of what they witnessed.

If the police did not immediately kill your dog, you should rush your pet to the closest veterinarian's clinic for potentially life-saving treatment. If the court decides the officer is at fault for the killing of your beloved dog, then damages from your lawsuit may cover the treatment bills in the damages.

You should contact a New York police dog shooting lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.

Is shooting my dog a fourth amendment seizure?

Possibly, depending on the details of your case. Shooting a dog has previously been considered a fourth amendment seizure, so it is precedent. 

For example, in the 2020 case, Ray v. Roane, police officers shot a German Shepherd tethered to a line on the owner's property. An officer exited his car before the owner could restrain the dog further, so it ran toward the officer, who proceeded to shoot and kill the pet. 

By legal definition, your pets are your property. The Ray v. Roane court held that shooting and killing a person's dog constitutes a "seizure" under the fourth amendment. The court also noted that a reasonable officer would have known that shooting a dog would kill it. Therefore the officer utilized unreasonable deadly force, which barred the officer from qualified immunity.

What kind of damages may I receive if I successfully sue a police officer for shooting my dog?

It is normal for people to want to know if making a legal claim is potentially worth the time, effort, and heartache of reliving the event. It is impossible to precisely predict what damages the court may award, as damages vary drastically from case to case. An experienced New York police dog shooting lawyer is best suited to estimate your potential damages.

In one Chicago case, the police raided a family's home and killed their dog. The courts awarded the victims $243,000 for killing their dog and $90,000 for the owner's false arrest when he asked officers if he could first secure his dog.

Police officers around the country shoot and kill people's beloved dogs daily. If this unfortunate tragedy affects your family, you have legal options. You may be eligible to file a legal claim against the police officer who killed your pet and receive damage awards based on your losses. Your best course of action is to contact a knowledgeable attorney experienced in dog shooting incidents. 

Roth & Roth has a team of experienced lawyers who work on cases involving police who shoot dogs. Our team of powerful New York attorneys is ready to help you fight for your rights and win justice for your deceased pet. Police should be held accountable for all excessive uses of deadly force, and we are here to ensure that happens in New York.  

Contact us to discuss your case today.

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