Animal Law

Personal Injury Lawyer's Golden Retriever Didn't Die in Vain: Police Shooting Results in New Policy

It’s too late for the elderly golden retriever who belonged to Florida personal injury Roy Glass.

But after he and his wife mounted a public campaign over the killing of their 12-year-old arthritic pet, who was shot to death by a St. Petersburg police officer on Oct. 1, the department has changed its policy on loose dogs, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

While the shooting of Boomer was ruled justifiable, the department will try to use catch-poles to restrain strays in the future. It will also deploy officers to deal with loose dogs only when they pose an immediate threat.

Chief Chuck Harmon says he sympathizes with those concerned about the death of Boomer and other dogs shot by police, having had to put down his own dog last year.

“I know the pain of having to do something like that,” he told the newspaper. He himself had to shoot a dog in the line of duty at one point, back when he was a patrol officer.

Roy Glass and his wife subsequently sent the city a claim notice indicating that they intend to sue for damages over the dog’s “unjustified, senseless shooting and killing,” reports the St. Petersburg Times.

They reportedly intend to donate any money they win to animal protection organizations or for law enforcement training.

Traditionally, pets are considered property and hence, except for valuable show or breeding stock, have minimal value in such a claim. However, there has been an emerging trend in recent years toward considering claims for an owner’s emotional distress over the loss of a pet in some cases.

Related coverage: “Angry Over the Death of a Beloved Pet, More Owners Sue the Animal’s Vet”

Updated on Nov. 21 to include new St. Petersburg Times article about Glass damages claim and link to prior post.

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