Sean Kendall's dog (courtesy policestateusa.com)

“Sean Kendall’s dog, Geist (above), was shot and killed by a Salt Lake City cop searching for a missing child,” countercurrentnews.com reports. So Kendall decided to sue the Salt Lake Police. Not so easy, Mr. Bond. “Utah law requires anyone who wishes to sue a police officer to pay their court expenses up front. The citizen is only reimbursed for those court costs if they win the case. This makes it virtually impossible to sue a police officer in the State of Utah, no matter what they have done.” Kendall’s lawyer’s trying to get the courts to toss that stipulation. But before all that legal maneuvering, the SLPD offered Kendall $10k to STFU. Would you take the money if a cop had shot your dog?

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116 Responses to Question of the Day: Would You Take $10k From Cops Who Shot Your Dog?

    • I think it would be reasonable – if the $10,000 actually came from the police officer’s own pocket!

      $10,000 actually coming from the pocket of a middle class individual is fairly substantial – like the loss of a beloved pet.

      Of course it doesn’t. It comes from the taxpayer’s pocket. That means it comes from my pocket, and your pocket, and does nothing to correct the irresponsible behavior. That is not acceptable at all.

        • logic fail. and when he wins a $200,000 dollar lawsuit where do you think that money comes from???

      • your logic is faulty. an employee’s salary belongs to him or her regardless of where the funds came from. It makes a HUGE difference to the individual whether you take the fine out of a taxpayer funded police department account or a taxpayer funded individual cop’s salary.

        if individual cops had to pay the first 10,000 (each), from their salary, of any judgment and/or settlement against them and their department, they would behave much, much better.

    • Hell no!

      And I’d be willing to donate to the legal defense fund of this man so we finally stop this.

  1. $10K for my dog is what I would call “a good start”.

    As for cats, I keep a couple in the trunk, just in case I get stuck in the mud. You know, for traction… 3:)

      • That was my thought. If they are offering $10K right off the bat, they may be a bit worried about what a jury might do.

  2. Only if the cop took responsibility for shooting the animal, was punished and then I’d take the 10k and donate it to a shelter.

  3. NO! Temporary insanity, justifiable homicide.
    Wilson is not our dog, he is our family. No different from any one of us. Should a cop be able to randomly shoot your kids in their own backyard?

    • I hate comments like this. Your dog is not your child! I’m a dog lover… HUGE dog lover. But if the house is burning down, and you have time to run in and save your dog or your kid… are you seriously going to have to think about that? Dogs are amazing animals. But they’re animals. Not humans. Not people.

    • your dog is not worth as much as my child.

      all the dogs in the world are not worth as much as my child.

      and if you have children, and you think your dog is an equal member of the family, your bulb is not operating at 100 watts.

      • “your dog is not worth as much as my child.”

        I love my dog. I don’t know or give a damn about you or your kids.

      • and if you have children, and you think your dog is an equal member of the family, your bulb is not operating at 100 watts.
        Actually, most of the time the dogs are easier to discipline and train than the kids are. The dogs are most certainly not the little ingrates that the kids are.

      • your child doesn’t really mean anything to me; if he was trapped in a fire with my dog, i’d save my dog.

      • My previous dog(RIP) saved my child’s life, he’s not the only dog that has saved a child’s or life or that will in the future… You are going to need more than 100 watts to process this one: How valuable was my dog’s life?

  4. Depends on how much of an asshole I want to be.

    If the officers were genuine and sincere in there apology and acknowledged they f***** up, maybe. But if they were being a pain in the ass I’d make their life hell.

    • I don’t believe dogs have souls either, but then again I don’t believe humans have souls. I’ve had stronger emotional bonds with dogs than I have with most people. I have no children, but putting a price on my dog’s life to me would be like putting a price on the life of a child would be to most people. I can’t say for certain what I would do, but if anything were to push me over the edge into the realm of retributive violence, someone shooting my dog would be it.

      • I’m with you. I want the LEO to personally suffer, either his job or he pays. But him paying is easy to get around (psst, we’ll reimburse you). So fired it is. Nothing else will stop this behavior.

  5. Yes as long as it didn’t come with a requirement not to talk about the case. Then I’d use that money to put up a billboard saying that the PD trespassed onto my gated property and killed my dog. I’d use the rest to help with moving expenses.

  6. With an admission of guilt, a written apology, and proof that 20% came from the cops salary for the year. Stupidity should personally hurt.

    I would only take this deal because I know my chances for satisfaction in court are near nil and some justice is better than none in this case.

  7. 10k? Hell no! Pets are family members. Do you think that officer would ever consider a payment of $10,000 to allow someone else to come on his property and randomly shoot one of his family members?

  8. I wouldn’t be happy about it but $10 K is a lot more than you’re likely to get in most jurisdictions if you win a lawsuit. In most places, you’d be lucky to be awarded more than $1000. Most places assign the replacement price as the value of a beloved pet. Where I live, there have been attampts to change that but those haven’t gone anywhere.

  9. Dude’s probably got 10K invested in the dog already between buying it, feeding it, vet visits etc… Taking the settlement would be breaking even most likely.

    • Are any of you guys going to pay tens of thousands of dollars to the animal families of the cow or chicken you ate for dinner lately? Yeah, no. We are complicit in animal ‘murder’ every time we eat meat or buy leather. I have no problem with it, either. Because they are animals, not people, and I am alive today because my ancestors have been eating critters for millions of years.

      But pets are different in terms of what they mean to us, sure. So what is a dog’s life worth? A dog is not going to live 70 years and earn millions of dollars in salary to support a family in his lifetime. Well, unless he is some movie dog. Those are the kinds things that factor into the value of a human life in a court of law. Dog’s are generally takers, not earners. For a dog’s life, you figure the cost of a replacement puppy and training, and throw in some extra for emotion suffering for the humans who loved it, and you have a fair value for compensation. But how much pain and suffering? If you end up an emotional wreck for more than a day or so because your dog died, I think you are too emotionally invested in an animal and need to get some better connections to other human beings in your life.

      Sure, I shed a few tears when I had my old lab put to sleep due to prostate cancer. And I was down for a couple of days. Then I adopted a new dog from a shelter and that void was filled, just like that.

      In terms of compensation, I think $10,000 is actually pretty generous if it is a breed that you can replace for less than a tenth of that, which is true on most cases. Anything more is a waste of taxpayer money.

    • Hahahaha!!!

      That’s awesome! I need one of those dogs, too.

      Sorry, but pets are pets. They may be nice and loving, but they aren’t people. You can get a new dog from the pound for $100. Cats are BOGO.

      Be an adult, take the money, and move on with your life. Too much spite here.

      Of course, what if you could shoot the officer’s dog? Hmm…

  10. The offer of $10,000 was not because Salt Lake City police thought they were wrong. They offered the money to make the case go away. The insurance company for the city would rather pay a small amount (to them), and not be on the hook for alot more than that if the dog owner wants to pursue it. As was mentioned above, it is a starting point depending on the merits of the case.

  11. Only if the $10K came with the cop’s badge, too. I wouldn’t feel right taking hush money and letting the city keep an obviously dangerous cop on the street. An officer who enters a backyard without permission, then panics and shoots a dog (when he has access to several nonlethal options) is a danger to the public. What if the homeowner, rather than the dog, had startled him? Or he missed the dog and shot a toddler, as in the other recent case?

    Somehow, the mailman and the gas meter guy and the electric company guy all manage to go about their jobs without being mauled by all these dangerous dogs that the cops feel they have to shoot on sight. Maybe the problem isn’t the dogs?

    • Well stated. I have to say I agree with your position here. I would settle for the cop losing his job and the taxpayers could keep the money.

  12. Considering animals are considered property and not family members in the eyes of the law, sure thing. It’s likely to be more than you’d be awarded in court.

    • This is EXACTLY correct. No matter how much we love our pets, and how much a part of our family they are, they are in law “chattels,” i.e., mere personal property. You DO NOT get emotional distress damages for the loss of personal property (with a few narrow exceptions), you get the replacement value, i.e., what you paid for it, and nothing more. So yes, I would take $10,000 for a $1,000 dog in a NY second.

      This is not to say that there may be other theories for recovering additional (personal injury) damages, e.g. trespass, negligent infliction of emotional distress for firing shots in the back yard, only that the recovery for injury or death of an animal is limited to the market value of the animal.

      • I am afraid that my dogs are not monetarily worth very much as I picked them up at the pound for about 50 dollars each.

  13. Legally, dogs are property.
    I don’t see getting more than $10k though the ‘justice’ system.

    Unless I wanted to cut my own nose off to spite my face, I’d take the $10k, but I’d still try to press animal cruelty charges in the criminal courts.

    • It’s very, very likely that the city wouldn’t cut the $10K check without your signature on a legal document preventing you from pursuing any further remedy of any kind. It would also probably have a clause preventing you from ever speaking of the case in public. If they weren’t buying your silence, why would they pay you any money at all?

  14. Touch a cop dog in Utah and it’s a felony. The pets of the citizenry deserve the same protection.

    He should plead guilty to the felony, be stripped of his badge and forced to pay restitution.

  15. “Utah law requires anyone who wishes to sue a police officer to pay their court expenses up front. The citizen is only reimbursed for those court costs if they win the case. This makes it virtually impossible to sue a police officer in the State of Utah, no matter what they have done.”

    It’s time to put an end to this kind of special treatment for the police. Laws like this encourages the police to see themselves as the Praetorian Guard of politicians. If the police are constantly sent messages that they can get away with stuff other citizens can’t get away with it, of course, leads to corruption. Police departments perceived as corrupt rather quickly lose the support of the citizens they’re supposed to serve. Of course, by that time, the police have long since decided that politicians are more important to their career advancement and protection than private citizens.

  16. Yes and quicky. I was an adjuster for 30+ years in Virginia and handled some animal claims. By Virginia law, a pet is personal property. By law, personal property value is the market value of the property. You are owed the amount the pet would sell for on the open market.

    • A government dog has more rights than a civilian human, but a family dog is cheap personal property.

      Makes sense.

  17. The more interesting question is Utah’s upfront payment law. Part of the Supreme Court’s decision this week (raisin taking case) was that the Dept of Agriculture’s requirement that farmer’s pay $450,000 just to commence legal proceedings was prohibited.

    I can support measures to discourage trivial litigation in which the plaintiff suffers no downside by suing, but there has to be a better way for justice to prevail.

    To the question: assuming my costs were under $10K, I’d be inclined to accept it (plus legal costs) if my costs were reimbursed. Also a provision that SLCPD implement mandatory training and maybe fire the cop if s/he failed to follow standard procedures. Money won’t inhibit another occurrence, but training and disciplinary consequence might.

  18. Nope. ZERO chance. The one killer cop who we had on the force was finally fired. He came from California after he killed a person by choking him out, killed a dog when the cop showed up for a medical emergency when the owner was having a heart attack, came to Spokane and killed pastor Creach on the pastors own property. Huge coverup and it cost the county 2 M.
    We don’t have to put up court cost and 10K wouldn’t even come close.

    • And the big question is why is it so common for cops with this kind of bad paper to move from job to job? How does someone who choked someone to death and killed a minister on his own property continue to get jobs as a cop?

      • It has to do with the police culture. Just like clergy who molest, bad doctors who just move on, bad cops simply resign and move to another city. The problem is the difficulty of suing police departments and cover ups.
        AND I TELL YOU IT STINKS!

  19. Not a chance. I love my dogs and will take no money for them. I have much more than $10k in training hours in each one, so I believe I would have a valid argument in court for a much higher “value” of my property destroyed. I would want the negligent party to pay personally…not the tax payers (that would be tougher). Actually had a guy offer me $20k for one of my dogs while we were hunting…told him no, but I would take an even swap for his daughter – point given and taken.

  20. If it would actually come out of the bank account of the particular cop that did the shooting, and not tax payer’s money, then yes.

  21. Probably.
    I’m guessing it’s likely to be more than the court “might” order. If he won.

  22. “From cops?” The money does not come from the police, it comes from the citizens including the one whose dog was murdered.

  23. Sure, 10k for a dog is a great deal. I don’t have double standards when it comes to animal rights, I can eat a cow as much as I can kill a dog. Too many conservatives sound like a liberal when it comes to Dogs for no apparent reasons. Maybe I’m being too logical here.

  24. would be kind of tough i guess i would take it to help post my bail after beating the cop to within an inch of his life….

  25. If it came with a written apology from the officer in question, then yes. I would miss my dog terribly but with 10 grand I could get another dog.

  26. Yes I would. I grew up on a farm where you shot your own dog if he/she got into your livestock. I love and take care of my dogs but they are just that, dogs.

  27. How much are court costs there? They sure aren’t so high around my parts that it would be ‘impossible’ for someone to pay them in order to launch a lawsuit.

    • Good point – and also the venue. Small Claims in Santa Clara County, CA can be used to sue for up to $10K. The filing fee is $75. However, only direct costs can be recovered. Pain and suffering and intangible costs can’t be recovered in Small Claims.

  28. I’m sure he could get crowdfunding to pay for the lawsuit against the officer. It’s not like he’s going to LOSE. He’ll get the money back when he wins in court. The officer doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

    And no, $10K is not nearly enough. I’d consider $10K from the officer, and another $25K from the city, as well as written apologies, as well as demand that officers be re-trained, and validate that said re-training actually happens.

  29. I would, if his peace officer license AND his eligibility for a concealed handgun license went through the shredder, too.

    Sure, I’ll allow his right to arms at home, on his own property, but he’s done striding strapped in public. He’s already proven himself a deadly menace.

    How about it, TTAGers? Strip or severely scale back 2A rights for hound-murdering cops (and those who flash grenade babies, while we’re at it), or does writing a check on whomever’s account pay their debt to society and preserve their rights.

    • Just like people, there are mostly good dogs but there can be bad dogs. I volunteer with a local Golden Retriever Rescue Organization. I am a law abiding citizen and no reason for a law enforcement officer to enter my property and without a warrant, not going to happened! My male, Becker is the only alarm We need, he has a “Stranger Danger” bark, UPS used to sail soft and non breakable items up on front porch. But they have gotten used used to it. I’m on Euthanasia Committee 1 of 5 members who vote to put to sleep due to dog aggression or human aggression. It comes under consideration if bite draws blood. The question committee members ask themselves is would you be comfortable with this dog in your home. Becker went to adoption with an older female and she had e-collar on for stitches for recent eye surgery. Adopting dad was throwing a tennis ball, Becker nicked the other Golden, pulled out one stich, Before the vote we discuss, I had fostered him and knew he was not aggressive with other dogs But Becker was one of those ball obsessed dogs, he never had toys in his life and they became his every thing. When we throw tennis balls, we though a lot of them he and our girl dog go flying off the deck and grab as many as possible as soon as one drops one, the other gets it but no conflict. We have fostered a lot of dogs. Both female and young males 6 months to 12 months. He is a wonderful mentor to them, every one has been matched after 14 days, he house trains the foster dogs. He doesn’t pee like a girl as much. If anyone ever hurt my dogs I don’t think I would hurt them but I would be in front of my dog (s) and a lawsuit!
      We occasionally see a parol car go by and Becker barks his head off but if they drive by while Becker is being walked. My nephew is an Austin cop, 6. 2 about 175 of muscle. And look that all The Taylor’s have that says “don’t fu@k with me.
      There is no such thing as a just a dog. Civil people take priority over dogs, but If you are a douch bag I still give you CPR, I won’t be your buddy and never a smile.

  30. Nope I wouldn’t……. I want enough to really hurt their pockets and make them think twice about shooting anyone’s dog…….. People are finally seeing cops for the assholes they really are………

  31. I don’t know what I would do if some cop shot either my dogs. I would be pissed. I won’t even comment on the hypothetical.

    But on a positive note, I am very involved with my local SPCA and they give classes for cops on how to deal with dogs. The cops really enjoy the classes, and the incidents of cops shooting dogs has decreased significantly since the cops got the training. I think all departments should deal with this in training.

  32. Conditionally, yes. In the same situation, I would accept the $10k, as long as it came from the killers own pocket, I receive a sincere personal apology from the killer, and the killer loses his badge permanently.

    Would I accept $10k from the PD in hush money while the killer is allowed to walk around armed and badged in public? Not a fucking chance.

    It’s amazing to me that thousands of postal workers, meter readers, landscapers, painters, and pizza delivery kids manage to do their jobs without killing peoples pets, but supposedly trained police employees can’t seem to figure out the trick.

  33. Some of y’all are missing the point, I think. It’s not about the money. It’s about consequences for a blatant and reckless abuse of power.

    I wouldn’t settle out of court for $1 million. I would take it to trial, for the satisfaction of putting Officer A$$wipe on the stand and watching him squirm as he explained why he callously extinguished the life of a beloved family pet, while my teary-eyed children sit in the front row and look at him. There would be press releases and news conferences to maximize the publicity. We would hold fundraisers to further keep the incident in the public eye. I would start a hashtag campaign #labradorretrieverlivesmatter.

    By the time it was over, every human in a 50 mile radius would know the dog killer’s name and face.

  34. 10 big ones for putting my dog down, when I’d probably have to do it myself anyway before long?
    Hell yes, and for another 10 G’s, he can have at it on my old lady!

    • 10 grand…

      For 10 grand I can arrange a good beat-down for Officer JackBoot while I have an air-tight alibi.

      It can be very nice to know people who aren’t nice.

  35. I really love my dog. She has stuck with me when everyone I know has turned their back on me. I am not sure what I would do in such a situation. Anyone who has intentionally made me cry really regretted it.

  36. Haven’t had a dog since I was a kid. Yeah 10000bucks sounds pretty good-but I’d go for more…

  37. Sure, but only out of the shooting cop’s salary and nit from taxpayers.

    otherwise, he won’t learn anything.

  38. The Middleton family in Rains, TX recently got a law passed in Texas after their dog, Candy, got shot by an overzealous sheriff deputy… the new law requires cops to go through dog encounter training to prevent these kinds of situations.

  39. For $10,000 I would probably shoot my dog. Felt like doing it when she chewed the hell out of my son’s $500 glasses.

  40. Depending on the circumstances, Hell no. I would want blood for blood and I would get it one way or another, consequences be damned. My dogs are no different from my children, and I would burn him down for my children and thusly burn him down for my dog.

  41. Hmm and didn’t the slc police chief just stand down? Anywho slc is getting to be a bad place. Anti gun politicians and police make for a criminals paradise. Carry everywhere.

  42. Hell no, I’d give a long tearful story about how much Fido meant to me, my family, and the community. Then I’d counter with 50K and we’d eventually settle for 20-25K. Then I’d take $100 get a new mutt from the pound, invest most of the $$, and the take a nice vacation in honor of Fido. I seriously don’t get why Americans are so attached to their pets, unless your dog has won at Westminster or undergone thousands of dollars in LE or SR training, your dog is not special. Any emotional values you impute to your dog are projections from you, not innate to your dog. Your dog is an animal not a person, it doesn’t give a crap about you as anything other than a source of food. Whenever I get a nose bleed my dog licks up any blood that makes it to the floor. Your dog would totally eat you if you died and they were hungry. I don’t think one of your children would eat you under similar circumstances.

  43. I wouldn’t take the money as long as the cop agreed to be detained in my backyard for two minutes. If he is able to walk away without the use of medical staff he would be excused for the crime. If not, the fee would be $25,000, and after a 30 minute rest I would get bonus time of five minutes with him to ensure he’s taught proper behavior.

  44. If you needlessly shoot my dog, the money is not important. To quote my ideological forefathers, “millions for defense, not one cent for tribute.”

    Would I necessarily turn down the $10k? not at all. The money is tangential, however; it is only important if it means I Get My Way.

    My Way is the asshole who pulled the trigger gets investigated and charged as a civilian should for illegally discharging a firearm within city limits, cruelty to animals, reckless endangerment, and any other applicable laws he may have violated.

    You know what? I wouldn’t even require that they go that far. I want a public admission of guilt, both from the cop who pulled the trigger and the asshole who put him on the street. This apology is worth $10,000 to me, to have them say in plain language, in front of the news cameras, what they did wrong without using weasel bullplop non-apology guilt-free blame the civilian you are apologizing to for your own wrongdoing apology tactics.

    IF that is done, I would drop any talk of a lawsuit, and the city would get to keep their ten thousand dollars.

  45. I would accept the 10K only if it included the firing of the police officer. I question this law granting special legal protections for police officers based on the 14th Amendment and the fact it creates a undue burden for legitimate litigants.

  46. Yes, because a dog isn’t worth more than $10K to me. Sorry, but that’s just reality. I’ve loved every one of my dogs, but none of them re worth more than that to me.

    However, that would only apply if my dog were in the wrong. The cop never got bitten, first, and second, the cop was intruding into an area the dog wanted to protect.

    If this had been the case of a bad dog, and the person who was bitten (which didn’t happen) had tried everything to get away and wasn’t doing anything to provoke the attack (like climbing the fence, intruding on my property, etc) then sure, I’d take the money, as the law in my state says that the fault lies with the dog being violent, not the person bitten.

    However, since the cop intruded on the property (provoked the attack) and didn’t try everything to run away (failure to show the dog was inherently violent), no, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t stop until the cop was punished. And if his PD didn’t train him properly, tough, then maybe the PD can pay out $100,000.

    Yeah, it would take six figures at that point.

    But if the fault were my dog, I would’ve shut up and taken $10K.

  47. Sure I would. But don’t ask me what I’d do with the Barrett .50 cal I’d buy with the cash.

  48. If they offered 10K like that then their lawyers are worried. Pony up and go for 100K and name the officer in the suit to drain his wallet too. The union lawyers are expensive. Sure thye taxpayers are on the hook and they can think about that when they are in the voting booth.

    • SLCPD should be worried if I understand the incident correctly. Without a warrant, PD may only enter property (not a home) if in “hot pursuit”. Hunting for a lost child doesn’t count.

      Two years ago a domestic violence homicide occurred 2 blocks away around noon. By the time PD arrived, the killer had bolted and disappeared. When I arrived home, discovered my garage had been entered, a lawn mower left outside, but no evidence of theft. My garage and back yard is completely enclosed by a 7′ wooden fence with a Beware Of Dog sign on the front gate. I left a side gate unlatched.

      Called non-emergency number and learned about the shooting and search. Dispatcher confirmed search and apologized that PD failed to return all items to the garage.

      Researched law and filed a complaint – there was no “hot pursuit” since the police did not see anyone enter my property, nor have a reasonable expectation that the killer had entered my property. Chief concern was officer safety and secondarily was that of my property & pets.

      Complaint was rejected & PD Internal Affairs was incensed that I complained. Fortunately my two 200+ pound dogs (English Mastiffs) were in my home at the time. Could have had a very different outcome.

  49. No. I wouldn’t want any money. I want the guy fired and convicted of felony animal cruelty so that he can never be a cop again. He doesn’t need to do jail time, but he needs to have the scarlet letter “F” hung on him.

  50. That is the reason it will happen again, and it is the reason it will keep on happening. There is no accountability for law enforcement. The cops can do whatever they want to the public or the public’s property. It is a ridiculous system, if you win a lawsuit you pay it with your and your neighbor’s money and the cop who committed the crime suffers no punishment either financially or with the police department.

  51. No matter our attachments to our dogs (or other pets), per common law, dogs are simply property, not family members. And as property, civil penalties are limited to replacement costs, courts and legal costs, and any punitive costs added. Period. I dislike that as I care deeply about my dogs and cops are too quick to declare a dog dangerous and shoot dogs. they enter my property and shoot one of mine, they’d better have a warrant and I’ll sue anyway.

  52. The police Department is NOT an agency of the state nor an agency under the state.
    The police Department is a PRIVATE for Profit entity !!, WTFU people!
    Write to the Secretary of State in which you are located & get this this in writing from his office.
    The STUPID so called police man/woman acted outside their jurisdiction and are liable.
    Require the police man/woman verify under penalty of perjury that he/she acted in their delegated authority and get it in writing from the man/woman that delegated the Authority.
    Contact David Myrland at http://www.wevgov.com
    The police are ignorant jack boot thugs and have NO delegated authority to commit such crimes!
    Demand a copy of the police Departments job description hand book.
    The dog was not shot on municipal property therefore code enforcement has NO jurisdiction.

    WTFU people, no public Servant has delegated authority or power over their master!!

    Are the police Departments required to protect their masters property?
    The dog is private property and only the owner of such property can determine its value.

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