Dog Death Compared to Loss of Child?


Let’s be clear. We are NOT saying we would or could compare an animal’s death to loss of a human person, family or otherwise. But that’s what this lawsuit says.

“Kendall loved and cared for Geist as a best friend,” the lawsuit states. “Geist was robbed of the vast majority of his life, and Kendall was robbed of Geist’s continued life with him, which cannot be replaced any more than a child or other family member can be replaced.”

The lawsuit filed Friday in 3rd District Court calls for a jury trial to consider $1.5 million in special damages and $500,000 punitive damages from Olsen and Purvis. Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson is representing Kendall in the case.

The filing equates Kendall’s experience raising Geist to being a parent, describing how he carefully chose what breed of dog would be the best match for him before traveling to Colorado to purchase the full-bred puppy and undertaking hours of training as the Weimaraner became “a happy, friendly, well-behaved and beloved dog.” Geist was 2 years old and was expected to live up to 10 years more when he was killed.

The lawsuit alleges the officers were negligent in their search on June 18, 2014, failing to thoroughly check the 3-year-old boy’s home — where he was later found asleep in the basement — before expanding their efforts to include warrantless searches of neighboring backyards, including Kendall’s. They had no reason to believe the boy could have been in Kendall’s yard, the lawsuit claims, and apparently didn’t pay attention to the dog toys and dishes that were inches away and indicated a dog lived at the home before opening the gate.

Geist’s death was the result of an unconstitutional search that cost Kendall the companionship of the pet he loved as a family member and left him with deep emotional anguish, lost wages, therapy costs and legal expenses, according to the lawsuit.

Additionally, the suit accuses Salt Lake City of providing the police department’s civilian review board “an inaccurate and misleading standard” for warrantless searches when considering whether the search was appropriate and Olsen’s actions justified. The board ultimately cleared Olsen of any wrongdoing in the shooting.

Geist’s shooting drew a huge public response and online following criticizing and even threatening Olsen, one of the decorated heroes who brought the deadly Trolley Square shooting spree to an end in 2007. In turn, former Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank decried the abuse directed toward his officers in the days after the dog was killed.

Salt Lake police and Kendall reportedly negotiated a $10,000 settlement last year, which Kendall accepted and then later rejected. He later announced his intent to sue. Earlier this year the police department outlinednew training for its officers on dealing with domestic dogs.

A representative from Salt Lake City declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday, saying the city does not comment on ongoing litigation.

PD comment:…………..another lawsuit aiming to claim the dog was someone’s child…?   In CA it would not likely work. However, because that emotional appeal was put into the lawsuit, it might be that the state has some case law on point. Generally, when an illegal seizure takes place, the fallout from the wrongful seizure (or taking) is fair game. Thus the lawsuit cites mental anguish over the dog’s death, and that the Salt Lake City civilian review board provided a misleading and inaccurate standard for warrantless searches [when considering whether the search was appropriate here..]

Very few states treat animals as if they were people. Under general tort law, property such as animals, do not necessarily entitle owners to receive damages based on emotional distress unless there is some exception, or where there is some violation of law in addition to the loss of the animal.

Very few cases will pay out on emotional distress for animal loss alone, since if that was true, every Tom Dick and Harry would be claiming tort loss on every conceivable harm to any animal. For example, just imagine all of the AR people claiming harm to every animal owed, because they were emotionally distressed when fish died, birds died, or rescued animals died?  You think they wouldn’t file class action for groups of rescues? Bad pet food death? Most people have no clue as to what AR litigants would do. But we can already see it now.

They would then lobby for animal courts so that they could have hearings and lawsuits just for animals. Then next would be the ARs appointing free AR defense attorneys for the Plaintiffs. If you think this is crazy, you are right. ARs are crazy, which is why they would do it.