Charlotte Weaver, the owner of a 6-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback family dog, filed a lawsuit on April 4, 2013 against the village of Hazel Crest and Officers N. Lagunas and James Rollins for killing her dog. Hazel Crest is a suburb of 14,000 south of Chicago.
This tragic story began on December 24, 2012 when officers from the Hazel Crest Police Department were responding to a call about an escaped convict possibly hiding in the basement of Weaver's next door neighbor. Police are alleged to have opened the gate leading to her back yard, where on Christmas eve morning she let her dog Kobi out of her home and into the fenced-in backyard.
Since the gate was left open, this allowed Kobi to exit, where he wandered into Weaver's front driveway where the officers were talking. Weaver had no idea the officer's had left the gate unsecured at the time she let her dog out of the house.
Police stated in their report that they didn't open the gate, nor did they go in her back yard.
In the lawsuit filed by Weaver, one of the officers is quoted as saying "Ma'am, your dog was getting ready to attack one of my officers." The Hazel Crest Police Department defended the actions of the two investigating officers by saying Kobi was on a public sidewalk when the shooting took place. Each officer is charged in court documentsas having fired two bullets at Kobi, killing this family dog.
Weaver went to the Hazel Crest Police Department to file a complaint, where she was rewarded with a citation for violating Hazel Crest Ordinance Section 5-23. She was charged with having a dog at large, which is against the law in Hazel Crest.
Weaver is seeking damages for unreasonable seizure, aggravated animal cruelty and emotional distress. Lance Ziebell with Lavelle Law in Palatine will be handling her case. This suit is also called Dog-Killer Cops Face Kafakesque Lawsuit.
If this had been a dog shooting involving a private citizen, charges such as criminal trespassing, felony cruelty to animals and disorderly conduct would likely have been filed against Kobi's killers.
The case will now go to trial, where the police department will argue they didn't open the back gate, and because Kobi was about to attack, they felt killing a family dog was necessary as their own lives were in danger.
Readers, what are your thoughts on this case? Are the police lying about leaving the gate unlatched? Did they have the right to shoot and kill Kobi? Or is this another case where police will get away with killing a family dog because being an officer will shield them from the punishment they deserve?