A recent article in the Los Angeles Times reported that the City of Costa Mesa paid an unusual sum to settle a claim of wrongful killing of a family dog, $225,000. This represents a sizable amount if considered alone, even for a family pet loss. Some crime victims have not received such a high settlement or verdict for wrongful death claims of their family members. Here is a video on prevention.
So why did the City of Costa Mesa pay so much?
Well, the headline did not tell the real story. The dog was in its yard, when officers, chasing a couple of boys to give them a ticket for not wearing a helmet, climbed the fence into the yard. Feeling threatened by the dog, they shot it 15 times. But even that does not tell the story of why the City is paying so much.
It probably would not make news if the last part of the story were headlined, officers, chasing these obviously criminal types (without helmets), also tried to enter the home of the victims. There were assertions that the officers refused to allow a boy living at this house to remove the dog, and actually pointed their weapons at the family before shooting the dog.
It is something to present the loss of a dog, shot by officers to protect themselves. It is quite another to include allegations and proof that the officers, in their zeal to catch these helmetless criminals, invaded the rights of this family who were not involved, shot their dog, attempted to enter their house without permission, and pointed firearms at the occupants, entirely disrupting and threatening their lives.
I suspect the headline should have read “Family gets $225,000 from the City of Costa Mesa for irresponsible police tactics and pointing weapons at innocent people while shooting their dog.” That would not, however, have gotten me to read the article. Thus the paper did its job, but at a cost of those who lose animals and believe they too are entitled to such a sum.