A state investigator in Michigan allegedly shot a 15-year-old dog in the face while raiding the wrong house.
On Friday, the dog owners, Erica Morena and Katti Putnam, filed a federal lawsuit against the investigator. They claim that the officers unreasonably destroyed or seized their property, which is prohibited under the Fourth Amendment.
According to the lawsuit, a team of officers was trying to catch a fugitive on June 18 when they accidentally ended up in Morena and Putnam’s home. The fugitive was next door.
When Michigan Department of Corrections investigators went into their backyard, Morena and Putnam’s mixed-breed dog, Chloe, also made her way into the backyard.
According to a neighbor who witnessed the shooting, the investigator then shot her right below the nose.
The dog was reportedly not barking, and was wearing a collar; she also has no history of biting anyone.
When Chloe’s owners, having heard the shot, ran to her rescue, they reportedly heard the troopers say that they were at the wrong house. The officers then told Chloe’s owners to take her to the vet and said, “We’ll take care of this.”
Chloe survived the shooting, but has had three surgeries and lost part of her tongue and one canine tooth.
Lawyer Christopher Olson said that the officers “really had no right to be there.”
“The police went to the wrong house and shot these folks’ dog in their own backyard…They turned the situation into a violent one,” Olson said.
The Lansing State Journal reports that Olson is seeking unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.
“Had they followed the protocols in these training videos, this would not have happened,” Olson said of the shooting. “It’s too bad not only for my clients and the dog…but this is something that is a nationwide epidemic.”
Olson said that the officers have failed to follow through on their promise to “take care of this”: Chloe’s veterinary bill has still not been covered, and when his clients call the police or state officials about the incident, the calls go unreturned.