The family of a senior dog fatally shot by police responding to a call at the wrong address was awarded a $98,000 settlement after filing a lawsuit against the department and county.
The lawsuit, filed March 15 by Debra, Dwayne, and Dwight Blackmore and Antonio Cardosa against Sheriff John McMahon, the county of San Bernardino, and the Hesperia Sheriff’s Department deputies involved in the shooting, was settled last month.
In June of 2016, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies responding to a domestic disturbance call visited the wrong address where they shot and killed an innocent family’s 11-year old dog.
When police, admittedly confused over which was the right home, approached the residence, they noticed the entire property surrounded by fencing and, thinking there might be dogs present, rattled the fence before entering the yard.
At first, they were met with two small dogs, but as they continued toward the house were approached by Buddy, the Blackmore family’s 11-year old Husky/Lab mix. Buddy was shot in the neck.
After shooting Buddy, police detained Debbie Blackmore’s son and brother-in-law, who were home at the time of the shooting and did not hear police at the home until after Buddy was shot. While the young men were detained, Buddy was still alive and suffering immensely.
According to the lawsuit, despite multiple requests to care for Buddy, the deputies refused to allow either man to approach or get help for the dog.
“Buddy, now bleeding and severely injured, ran in the house and laid down in the family room to die a slow, painful, mournful death without justification or reason,” the lawsuit reads. “Only after 20 to 30 minutes following the shooting of Buddy, were Antonio and Dwayne allowed to go to Buddy, who was near death.” Buddy died in Debbie Blackmore’s arms when she returned home from work and rushed him to an emergency veterinarian.
Following Buddy’s death, a use-of-force investigation was launched. The deputies involved did not face disciplinary action and remained on patrol.
In a joint statement, attorneys Sharon Brunner and Jim Terrell said that unlawful killings of pets create a void for families and “unimaginable heartache.”
“The Blackmore family hope through this settlement, San Bernardino County will re-evaulate and develop policies and procedures to prevent the loss and pain they suffered as a result of the needless shooting of Buddy. It has always been about preventing another senseless killing of a family dog/pet and not the money according to Debra Blackmore, owner of Buddy.”