By Sherry Davis
In 2010 I chronicled the story of Rosie, the young Newfoundland whose last moments of life, and the words of her killers, were captured on police car dash cams during a chase that ultimately ended with her being cornered and shot by members of the Des Moines, Wash., police department.
And when the facts of the case and the recordings were made public and released by Des Moines Police, dog owners worldwide reacted in shock and outrage as they watched and listened to the officers who carried out the execution.
In November 2010, Des Moines police officers responded to a loose dog call on the animal control officer's day off. A neighbor had seen Rosie (who had escaped her yard) playing with children in the street and, worried that she might be hit by a car, called police.
By the time officers arrived, Rosie was back on her property and when they approached, she barked at them. After efforts to use a catch-pole went unrewarded due to their lack of training, one officer was heard saying, "Just kill him."
They fired a Taser into her twice, sending her panicking and running off her property and down the block until she came to an open gate and into a neighbor's backyard where she crouched in the bushes, hiding in fear. When the officers arrived, they shot her four times with an assault rifle as one officer was clearly heard shouting "nice" in approval.
Rosie's killing generated strong emotion in the community, resulting in a public vigil and attendance at council meetings by people demanding that charges be brought against the officers. An independent shooting review found the officers' actions were justified.
In July 2012, Rosie's owners, Charles and Deirdre Wright, filed a civil suit with the city of Des Moines totaling $600,000 and later in November, a federal lawsuit against the officers exceeding $10,000 for punitive damages, other expenses related to the trial and for general damages the family said they suffered over the loss of the dog, accoring to Q13Fox.com Seattle Tacoma.
On Feb. 19, in what the Wrights' attorney, Adam Karpe, says is a historic precedent, the Wrights received an "offer of judgment" in their civil suit in the amount of $51,000 plus reasonable attorney's fees and costs from the City of Des Moines and two officers, according to a KIRO Radio interview.
On Jan. 29, the Wrights accepted this offer.
According to Karpe, in a Feb. 23 interview on KIRO Radio, this amount is significant because previous judgments awarded for the wrongful killing of animals have customarily yielded amounts in the neighborhood of $15,000.
In a creepy, "I thought that stuff only happened in the movies" twist to this story, on Feb. 15 the defendants asked for the names of those who made charitable contributions to the Wrights' case, prompting Karpe to release this statement to the Washington Examiner in response:
"Indeed, the City and Officers' insistence in seeking such information appears to have no purpose other than to harass the Wrights, harass the donors, and chill efforts by outraged citizens seeking to assist in the efforts of victims seeking justice against government wrongdoers," and added, "Unless ordered by the court, the Wrights will not disclose donor identities."
-- Sherry Davis is a dog trainer/owner of CSI 4 K9s. Email her at csi4k9s @yahoo.com. These are her opinions, not necessarily The Californ ian's.