Court rules police can shoot barking or moving dogs when entering a home

A decision was made in favor of police in Grand Rapids, Michigan to shoot barking and moving dogs when an officer enters a resident. It was the final decision made by the federal court in Grand Rapids against the lawsuit filed by Mark and Cheryl Brown, who are residents in Grand Rapids. Their two pit bulls were killed by shooting when police entered the couple’s residence after a search warrant was issued in 2013 to search their house.


The officer stated that he shot the first dog when it came closer to the officer. After the dog was shot it ran towards the basement he went after it and killed it. The other officer killed the other dog when it came to the basement and barked at him.

Judge Eric Clay in his decision wrote as “The standard we set out today is that a police officer’s use of deadly force against a dog while executing a search warrant to search a home for illegal drug activity is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment when the dog poses an imminent threat to the officer’s safety,” stating that Mark and Cheryl was unsuccessful to provide evidence before the court that dogs did not come closer or bark at the two officers.

According to the Battle Creek Enquirer, the two officers stated that they were unable to search the basement without killing the dogs. The police chief of the area also agreed with the court’s decision and admitted that changes have to be made in the present lawsuits.

Police chief Jim Blocker declared to the newspaper that “It was a good ruling,” and “It pointed out some things we have to improve upon, but supported our operating concept that officers must act within reason.”