City officials in Hartford, Connecticut, have agreed to pay a family $885,000 to compensate them for a 2006 incident in which police fatally shot their dog in their yard.
The decision on Monday by Hartford’s city council ended a lengthy back-and-forth legal battle over the shooting of a 3-year-old Saint Bernard named Seven.
Hartford Police Sergeants Anthony Pia and Johnmichael O’Hare were following a tip about illegal weapons on Glen Harris’ property when they entered his yard without a warrant on Dec. 20, 2006.
After finding no such contraband, the officers reportedly turned to leave when Harris’ 12-year-old daughter, who had just returned home from school, released the dog. Seven growled and then charged at the two men before one of them fatally shot the animal.
Harris’ attorney, Jon Schoenhorn, told Fox61 News that Harris’ daughter “is now an adult, but she has had a lot of emotional trauma as a result of this. It has haunted her for years and still really she hasn’t healed from it.”
After Harris sued the city and police department in 2008, a judge initially ruled against him. The judge reasoned that the officers didn’t need a warrant to enter Harris’ yard because they were acting in the public interest and under emergency circumstances, believing they had a limited amount of time to recover illegal weapons.
Two later appeals ended in Harris’ favor, however.
The Hartford Courant, citing court filings, estimated that three-quarters of the $885,000 the city is paying the family will likely go toward legal fees and other litigation costs. The two officers involved in the shooting were not punished.