Friday, January 20, 2012

LaGrange Man Files Federal Lawsuit Against Cop Who Shot His Bulldog

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 9:21 AM

WARNING: The clip below might be disturbing to some. The first shooting happens at the 5:26 mark.

This video above is not new; it's been on YouTube for a year and a half, garnered some 680,000 views, and sparked all kinds of outrage (see the comments below the vid; even the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has taken note).

What's new is this: Yesterday, the dog owner filed a lawsuit in federal court against the officer and the City of LaGrange, claiming his Fourth Amendment rights were violated (that's the amendment concerning unreasonable searches and seizures).

To start from the beginning:  The whole thing went down on March 31, 2010, according to the complaint.

Mays' dog, Cammie -- a 1.5-year-old female American bulldog -- was in heat. She broke free from her chain.

A neighbor saw her roaming loose, and called the cops. This wasn't the first time the neighbor had complained about the dog, says the plaintiff's attorney, James W. Schottel, Jr.

(You might remember Schottel; he settled a suit against The Apprentice back in 2005, and is on the team that's trying to thwart Paul McKee's Northside Regeneration).

A standard American bulldog - IMAGE VIA
As you can see in the video, the cop -- Officer Doug Howell -- subdues the dog with a snare pole then shoots her in the chest. After about 35 seconds, she starts to wag her tail. He then takes his gun back out and shoots her in the head.

Schottel says the cops had written Mays citations for the dog on previous occasions.

The question in this case will be: Does the cop's behavior qualify as "reasonable" in the legal sense, i.e., in the way "reasonable" has been interpreted in federal case law?

Schottel thinks not. Citing a case in the Ninth Circuit, he claims that the shooting was "objectively unreasonable" because Howell "was not in any immediate danger, which called for the use of deadly force."

Below is a copy of the lawsuit.

Mays v. Howell and City of LaGrange

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