$1.26 Million for Dog Shot By Police

You can't put a price on companionship.

Vernon Chessie 300x400

I wouldn’t want to have to put a price tag on how much someone would have to pay me if they wanted to take my dog away from me. Or, God forbid, I had to get compensated in case something happened to him. In this case, though, a jury made the decision. And the amount they awarded a man is the highest verdict ever awarded for an officer-involved shooting of a dog.

The jury awarded $1.26 to the owner of a dog that was shot in 2014 by Officer Rodney Price in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Apparently, Officer Price was investigating reports of a burglary when he encountered Vernon, a dog in the neighborhood owned by Michael Reeves. The 4-year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever was in the Reeve’s yard at 4 pm.

Price knocked in the door of the Reeves home, even though the Reeves were not involved in the burglary or the investigation. No one answered the door, and Price says Vernon attacked him as he left the yard by barking and running toward him. There were no witnesses. Price shot the dog twice at close range. He apparently left Vernon’s body by the porch. He later said that he did not take any steps to avoid the killing of the dog. During the trial it came out that Vernon had not bitten or otherwise injured Price before he shot.

The jury found that Price was not justified in the killing and that he had violated Vernon’s owners constitutional rights, not only that, but with gross negligence. Michael Reeves lost what appeared to be a damn good dog. And now he’s got some money. Hopefully also, that settlement taught the cops a lesson.

Image of Vernon and Chessie from dailyhornet.com