Reporting Derek Valcourt
FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)– A Frederick County family’s dog is shot by sheriff’s deputies. Now, a jury awards that family more than half a million dollars in damages.
Derek Valcourt has more.
For a jury, there is nothing like seeing for yourself what happened. Luckily, most police cars are now equipped with cameras.
The dashboard camera reveals what happened in January 2010.
Chocolate Lab Brandi bounded toward a sheriff’s deputy. The deputy pulled a gun, Brandi stopped and appeared friendly. Then, the deputy shot her.
“It was terrifying. Very terrifying because it was like one of your kids being shot,” Sandra Jenkins, Brandi’s owner and the plaintiff in the case, said.
After Roger and Sandra Jenkins rushed to Brandi and then took her to a vet, the deputies headed into their home. They’d come to serve a warrant on the Jenkins’ son.
“You could have tased the dog, sprayed him, hit him with a baton,” Roger Jenkins said.
The Frederick County sheriff’s department maintained that Deputy Timothy Brooks acted legally, feeling that the dog was a threat.
“We’re going back now and trying to second guess a split-second decision in a situation where a sheriff’s deputy was trying to protect himself,” Sheriff Chuck Jenkins of Frederick County said.
Brandi survived and began treatments for her gunshot. Roger and Sandra Jenkins hired an attorney and sued.
“The policy is, shoot the dog first and ask questions later. And that is not an acceptable policy,” Cary Hansel, the attorney for Roger and Sandra Jenkins, said.
The jury agreed, finding the deputies violated Roger and Sandra Jenkins’ rights when they entered their home without permission and when they shot Brandi.
The $620,000 verdict is bittersweet for Brandi’s owners.
“Dogs are not just pets anymore. They are part of our family,” Roger and Sandra Jenkins said.
Nine-year-old Brandi is still suffering from her shooting injuries. She walks with a limp and her family says it’s possible she could have her leg amputated.
Even though the sheriff’s department changed its deputy training for dealing with family pets, just last week a sheriff’s deputy shot and wounded another dog in the Frederick area.