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A Factual Account of Immi's Shooting

Pamela L. Roudebush


Animal Legal & Historical Center
Publish Date:
2002
Place of Publication: Michigan State University College of Law
Printable Version

A Factual Account of Immi's Shooting

 

The following excerpt from an appellate court opinion contains the actual facts that occurred when a 3-year old Rotweiller named Immi was unreasonably shot to death by a police officer:

Unbeknownst to the Browns the latch on the back gate of their fence had failed, and Immi had wandered into the adjacent parking lot beyond the fence. . . .After three or four minutes of sniffing and casually walking near the fence, Immi approached the sidewalk along the street on which the Browns lived.  As she reached the curb, Officer Eberly was passing in his patrol car.  Seeing Immi, he pulled over, parked across the street, and approached her.  He clapped his hands and called to her.  Immi barked several times and then withdrew, circling around a vehicle in the parking lot that was approximately twenty feet from the curb. Having crossed the street and entered the parking lot, Officer Eberly walked to a position ten to twelve feet from Immi.  Immi was stationary and not growling or barking.  According to the stranger observing from his car, Immi “did not display any aggressive behavior towards [Officer Eberly] and never tried to attack him.”  At this point, Kim Brown looked out an open, screened window of her house.  She saw Officer Eberly not more than fifty feet away.  He and Immi were facing one another.  Officer Eberly reached for his gun.  Kim screamed as loudly as she could, “That’s my dog, don’t shoot!” . . . Officer Eberly hesitated a few seconds and then pointed his gun at Immi . . . Kim tried to break through the window’s screen and screamed, “No!”  Officer Eberly then fired five shots at Immi.  Immi fell to the ground immediately after the first shot, and Officer Eberly continued firing as she tried to crawl away.  One bullet entered Immi’s right mid-neck region; three or four bullets entered Immi’s hind end.

Brown v. Muhlenberg Tp. , 269 F.2d 205, 209 (3rd Cir. 2001).

     To the Browns, the above scenario was something out of a nightmare.  Their beloved pet had just been shot by a police officer.  What were their rights?  Could they sue?  Was someone in the wrong for what had happened?  Did they have a legitimate cause of action?  Was there a taking under the Fourth Amendment?  Was the officer who shot their dog acting in his official capacity?  Did the officer have immunity for his acts?  Unfortunately, the common law regarding shooting of pets is still in its infancy and the answers are not a clear cut yes or no with respect to these questions.   The remainder of the information contained in the topic area “Police Shooting Pets” will attempt to give an overview and detailed discussion of the current law in order to help clarify the answers to these questions

There are three links at the bottom of this page.  The first link contains a quick summary to the topic and is a simple, short introduction to the issues.  The second link contains a legal overview.  This document contains more information on the legalities of the issues involved but continues to address the issues in a broad overview format.  The overview does not contain any links to reference or research materials.  The third link contains a detailed discussion.  This document contains a very detailed analysis of the legal issues involved and contains links to state statutes, federal statutes, and court opinions, in their entirety.   In addition to the analysis of the issues, the detailed document contains a further analysis of cases that have addressed the issues together with links to those cases in their entirety. 

1.  Quick Overview

2.  Legal Overview

3.  Detailed Discussion

 

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