CA8: Shooting ptf’s dog was objectively reasonable; it was running on a busy freeway and refused to be captured and caused safety hazard

Plaintiff’s dog escaped and ran down I-29 and cars were swerving dodging the dog. The defendant officer attempted to capture the dog but the dog eluded capture. With the patrol car in the road keeping cars back, traffic quickly backed up a quarter-mile. Finally, the officer shot the dog. Under the circumstances presented, the use of force against the dog was objectively reasonable. Hansen v. Black, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17986 (8th Cir. Sept. 18, 2017):

… Black made multiple attempts to capture the dog without using force. But his efforts were unavailing and caused a dangerous quarter-mile traffic back-up. At this point, we agree with the district court that Black’s decision to use force to clear the highway of this traffic hazard by firing the first shot was objectively reasonable. The first shot wounded the dog, but it remained in the southbound lanes, struggling to evade Black and continuing to obstruct the highway. Trooper Black decided that traffic safety, his first priority, required him to clear an interstate highway rather than continuing to hold traffic while waiting for additional help. He did not have a taser, catch, or snare pole, so he shot the dog a second time. The district court, employing hindsight, reasoned that Black could simply have carried Conan off the roadway. But we are not prepared to say that, in these circumstances, the Fourth Amendment required an officer to approach and attempt to carry a large wounded animal that his extensive efforts had failed to control. Moreover, the district court failed to explain how Black would have been able to safely reopen the interstate after leaving this wounded animal on the median.

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