The killing of two family dogs during a Vallejo police hunt for robbery suspects has resulted in the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit. The suit seeking unspecified damages was filed February 20 in U.S. District Court in Sacramento against the city of Vallejo, Police Chief Joseph Kriens and two sergeants.
This tragic event took place on February 10, 2012 when police were searching for robbery suspects who had severely beaten a man, then fled in a car. Officers chased the car to the 1000 block of Castlewood Drive, where the suspects fled the car and headed in the direction of a home rented by Lindsey Piolotti.
Police and a SWAT team were on the premises and used a public address system in an attempt to get the robbery suspects to surrender. When no one came out of the home, police fired nonflammable, non-incendiary (tear) gas into the home where Piolotti's two pit bull-terrier mix dogs, Alize and Kush, were keeping watch while their owner was away.
Unfortunately the tear gas started a fire in the home and the dogs were trapped in the house and burned to death. An investigation points to the gas canisters knocking over something flammable in the home and starting the fire.
Piolotti's mother found the remains of the two dogs in the city dump the next day. Not only did Lindsey Piolotti lose her two dogs, but her home was completely destroyed.
City Attorney Claudia Quintana calls the accident unfortunate, but says the police had the right to gas the house under the circumstances. Quintana calls the actions taken by the police a "reasonable and appropriate response."
The robbery suspects were not found.