SAN DIEGO -- A City Heights family filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday over the shooting death of their family dog by a San Diego police officer in February.
Grizzly was seven years old on Feb. 22 when SDPD Officer Robert Meiselman allegedly entered the gated yard of Alfredo and Socorro Fuentes to inquire about whether anyone in the home witnessed a truck being stolen earlier in the evening, according to a prepared statement released by Expand Animal Rights Now, a nonprofit organization that filed the suit on behalf of the family.
"Our office sadly handles a lot of these cases, where dogs are unnecessarily and mercilessly shot at the hands of law enforcement," Jill Ryther said in the statement. "But I have to say, Grizzly's case is one of the most disturbing cases I have seen."
The dog was shot multiple times and passed away.
"This case is pending litigation we therefore cannot comment on the specifics of the incident," Lt. Scott Wahl said in a statement. "However, the San Diego Police Department provides training to all of its Police Officer's on de-escalating encounters with animals, specifically dogs. Per Department policy, officers have the authority to use their firearm if they reasonably believe an animal posses [sic] an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to them or another person."
The nonprofit organization filed the suit against the police department, city of San Diego and Meiselman on behalf of the Fuentes family.