If you are a fan of police dramas on television, you have probably seen K-9 units in action. While the animals on your TV are actors, real-world police forces rely on dogs for drug detection, security, assistance with arrests and the performance of other tasks.
Police dogs typically undergo extensive training to ensure they comply with commands and show the correct level of force for any given situation. When these dogs retire, though, they need to go to owners who know how to handle them.
Recently, a former police dog escaped its enclosure before attacking and killing a San Luis Obispo man. The dog’s owner had purchased the animal from a police force, but officers did not provide the new owner with proper training.
The family of the attack victim and his neighbor filed suit against the dog’s owner, the city where the police dog had worked, the police chief and the K-9 supervisor. The basis of the lawsuit was a lack of new owner education.
Specifically, the suit alleged officers failed to inform the new owner that the dog required kenneling whenever the owner was not present. A jury ultimately awarded the plaintiffs $20 million.
Prosecutors charged the dog’s owner with manslaughter, which eventually ended in an acquittal. Still, the civil suit and criminal prosecution demonstrate the gravity of the situation. Put simply, when owners purchase former police dogs, the new owner and the police department have a duty to keep others safe. Failing to do so may have serious and life-changing consequences.
Ultimately, if a former police dog kills or injures someone you love, you may have several options for pursuing financial compensation.