Animal Rights

Family Receives $262,500 Settlement After Their Dog Was Killed By Police

| by Reve Fisher
demonstrators holding signs in support of the dog Chloe outside courthousedemonstrators holding signs in support of the dog Chloe outside courthouse

A Colorado family it set to receive over a quarter of a million dollars after their dog was killed by a police officer.

After years of legal battles stemming from the 2012 murder of his therapy dog, Gary Branson will receive a substantial payout from Commerce City for $262,500, The Denver Post reports. The settlement was filed in court on Jan. 22.

"The city's out-of-pocket cost was a $50,000 deductible," Michelle Halstead, spokeswoman for Commerce City, told The Post. "Our insurance agent covered the rest."

Branson’s dog, Chloe, was killed on Nov. 24, 2012, while staying at a relative’s house. She managed to get out of the garage, after which a neighbor called police to report a dog running through the streets that he did not recognize.

Police tried to capture the dog, which was reportedly uncontrollable and agitated. Commerce City police officer Robert Price ultimately used a Taser on the animal and shot her multiple times.

"For the safety of the community and the officers on scene, the officer fired his weapon multiple times to put down the dog and ensure the safety of everyone," police said after the incident.

However, a neighbor recorded the incident and posted the video on social media.

"This video came out and changed things," Jennifer Edwards, an Animal Law Center lawyer, said.

In October 2013, Price was acquitted of aggravated animal cruelty.

"In my opinion he was guilty, but the jury saw it different and we have to live with that," Branson said.

However, the case itself has been a turning point in animal law, according to Edwards.

"They clearly have a problem within the culture of the department in dealing with pet members of a family," Edwards said. "We just hope every other department — not just in Colorado but in the rest of the nation — will look at what this DA Don Quick did and use it as a model. He clearly took it seriously."

"I am happy that we have been vindicated," Branson said. "She deserved justice for what happened to her. This has been a very difficult time for me and am glad that it is now settled."

Sources: The Denver Post [2] [3] / Photo Credit: Steve Nehf, AAron Ontiveroz via The Denver Post