San Diego Law Review


Kaylan E. Kaatz

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



This Comment advocates that California adopt Colorado’s Dog Protection Act or a similar measure mandating police training for dog interactions and implementing specific procedures by law enforcement agencies to reduce dog shootings by police. With the increasing occurrence and coverage of police dog shootings, the need for more adequate law enforcement training on animal encounters is ever present. Additional training, as recently mandated by the Colorado legislature, would minimize police dog shootings. It would also help clarify the applicability of 42 U.S.C. section 1983, the federal statute permitting recovery for the loss of a dog due to a police shooting. Part II focuses on recent developments in animal law illustrating society’s highly empathetic view of dogs. It also outlines the legal classification of dogs as personal property and the constitutional amendment implications when police shoot a dog, highlighting the disparity between the treatment of canine companions and police K9s. Part III discusses 42 U.S.C. section 1983 as an avenue for recovery after a law enforcement officer seizes a canine companion, providing a thorough breakdown of the elements and defenses applicable to an owner’s claim and analyzing Rosby’s potential for success in such a claim. Part IV provides a detailed overview of current developments, summarizes the U.S. Department of Justice’s publication regarding animal encounters, explains Colorado’s Dog Protection Act while evaluating its overall purpose and goals as well as its implications for section 1983 liability, and reviews existing California animal welfare laws. Part V advocates for California to adopt a measure increasing police training and protecting canine companions.

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