Even though the dogs were not being aggressive, the judge sided with the officer, saying a reasonable officer would consider the dog an imminent threat.
“Given the totality of the circumstances and viewed from the perspective of an objectively reasonable officer, the dog poses an imminent threat to the officer’s safety,” Judge Eric Clay wrote in the decision. “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.”
View the court documents here.
Federal courts have previously ruled that the “unreasonable killing of a dog” does constitute a “destruction of property” under the Fourth Amendment. However, this ruling says otherwise.