A civil claim totaling $600,000 has been filed by the owners of Rosie the Newfoundland for the Nov. 7, 2010, shooting death of their dog by Des Moines police officers.
Named in the action are the City of Des Moines, the Des Moines Police Department, Des Moines Police Officer Michael Graddon, who fired the shots, and Sgt. Steven Weiland, who issued the order to kill Rosie.
The dog was pursued, shot and killed by the officers as she cowered in blackberry bushes in a back yard near her home after earlier being reported loose on a city street.
Charles and Deirdre Wright of Des Moines, who owned Rosie, have filed individual “wrongful death” claims of $300,000 each with the city.
They are seeking compensation for the “intrinsic value of Rosie, loss of use of Rosie, emotional distress and wage loss,” and special medical costs.
Bellingham-based animal rights attorney Adam Karp, who filed the action, is also seeking punitive damages and reasonable attorney’s fees.
Assistant Des Moines City Manager Lorri Ericson told The Waterland Blog, “I have not seen the claim but I know [City Manager] Tony Piasecki received it last week and forwarded it to our insurance carrier” – the Washington Cities Insurance Authority.
“Any claim received by the city goes to them. They review the claim, make a determination, and if appropriate assign an an attorney.
Ericson added that since she has heard nothing “I can only assume they are still reviewing it.” Since this is an open case, she couldn’t comment even after getting it back from the insurance carrier.
In early 2011, Karp filed a petition asking Des Moines Municipal Court Judge Veronica Alicea-Galvan to file misdemeanor animal cruelty charges against Graddon and Weiland under a state law dating back to the Washington Territory.
After Alicea-Galvan recused herself at the outset of the initial hearing, the case was referred first to King County District Court and then to Pierce County District Court. All judges of each court also recused themselves and the case was then transferred to Snohomish County.
It finally came before Snohomish County District Court Judge Tam T. Bui last June. After receiving briefs and hearing oral arguments, Judge Bui denied Karp’s motion in September.
“After a careful review, this Court is not satisfied that probable cause exists” to charge the officers for the killing of Rosie, she said in her ruling.
Karp appealed her decision to Snohomish County Superior Court, where Judge Richard T. Okrent dismissed it on March 9.
Judge Okrent ruled at the end of a one-hour hearing that the statute of limitations in this case had expired, leaving him with no choice but to dismiss it.
Karp said at that time he would file a civil claim for monetary damages against Graddon and Weiland.
In filing their claim against the city, the police, and the two officers, Karp also alleged that after the Wrights commenced their legal action, they were stalked and under surveillance by the police department.
“Such stalking and surveillance by DMPD has caused additional mental anxiety to the Wrights, for which they also seek damages,” Karp declared.
Referring to their dog, Karp noted that “at the time she died, Rosie was three years old, trained, and did not have a fair market or replacement value. Instead, she had a unique value, also known as intrinsic value, to her owner/guardians.”
He added that the law allows recovery of damages for the loss of Rosie, for emotional distress, for lost wages and for related medical costs.