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Nevada Court of Appeals gives owner right to sue Metro police in death of dog

The family dog, Hazel was shot when Metro officers unlawfully entered the family's home and used excessive force resulting in the shooting death of the family dog, Hazel.
The family dog, Hazel was shot when Metro officers unlawfully entered the family's home and used excessive force resulting in the shooting death of the family dog, Hazel.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit handed down a ruling this week giving a family the right to sue the Metropolitan Police Department in Las Vegas for unlawful entry and excessive force in the shooting death of their dog by a Metro police officer reported ktnvnews.com.

The shooting dates back to October 24, 2009 when officers were investigating a string of burglaries in the area of Onyx Way in Las Vegas. When authorities entered the home, teenagers were listening to music, watching television and playing video games.

At that point the situation deteriorated when the dog's owner, Henry Rodriquez asked Metro Sgt. Jay Roberts if he could put his dog away. The pit bull had been barking; after all the confusion and noise was in the dog's home, and that is what she was taught to do whenever strangers entered. Just as his request was denied, Officer Michael Dunn walked into the house and shot the family's dog named Hazel in the face.

According to the family attorney, E. Brent Bryson, the tragic unlawful and excessive force actions of that day began and ended:

"When they entered plaintiff's home, without a warrant, looking for intruders, handcuffed and detained the teenage boys inside, and shot and killed the family dog."

As Rodriquez took his shirt off to try and stop the bleeding of his dog, he asked the officers to call Animal Control to help save his dog's life. Sgt. Roberts refused.

Hazel did die, and no one in the family was ever charged with any crimes nor were any of them ever suspects in any crime.

"It sends a bad message that police can enter someone's home with no search warrant and shoot your dog," stated Melanie Brown of Pittsburgh. "I'm glad these people can sue the police because these men need to be held accountable for their abusive behavior; just like those police officers in Baltimore holding the woman's dog down and slashing the dog's neck."

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