According to an August 19 report by The Chicago Tribune, a Chicago family was awarded $333,000 August 22 in the shooting death of their dog by Chicago police officers.
Teen brothers Thomas and Darren Russell were in their 9200 block of South Justine Street apartment in February 2009 when police showed up at the door with a search warrant to search their two-flat.
Thomas was met with officers with their guns drawn when he opened the door. Russell put his hands in the air and asked to lock up his 9-year-old black lab Lady before police entered.
Police refused this courtesy, and when Lady came around the corner with her tail wagging, she was met with a bullet, fired by Chicago Police Officer Richard Antonsen.
No drugs were found in the family's apartment, although drugs were recovered in the building's other unit.
One of the attorney's for the family told The Chicago Tribune
"Darren and Thomas did everything right that night. They were cooperating with the officers and were met with guns to their heads and the shooting death of the family dog."
Jennifer Hoyle, a Spokeswoman for the city's Law Department, Jennifer Hoyle defended the officers saying they had a valid search warrant and were protecting themselves.
"We are extremely disappointed and reviewing all of our options. In particular, we think the damages awarded to the plaintiffs were excessive."
The settlement was broken down into $175,000 for Thomas Russell, $85,000 for Darren Russell and $35,000 each for their parents. The jury also awarded punitive damages of $2,000 against officer Antonsen for shooting Lady and $1,000 against the supervisor who decided to arrest Thomas Russell.
Ms. Hoyle can go on all she wants about this being an excessive settlement. Since dogs shot by police cases have risen to one dog being shot every 98 minutes, large settlements being paid to those who in essence lost a member of their family is the most effective way to send a message to police.
Dog lovers everywhere are fed up with police and their callous actions and blatant disregard of the emotional attachment between a dog and its owner will no longer be tolerated.