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Message Asks Users to Support Lawsuit About Dog Shot By Police

Circulating social media message claims that police threw a chair at a dog, tasered and shot him and then left him to bleed to death. The message asks users to like and share to support a family's lawsuit against the police.

Lawsuit concept

© Samantha Craddock

Brief Analysis
The circulating message gives no details about where or when the alleged incident took place or who filed the complaint and has therefore been dismissed by many as a hoax or like-farming scam.  However, as detailed below, such a lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in July 2013.  (See Detailed Analysis for more information)

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Dog Shot

Detailed Analysis

This message, which is going viral on Facebook, asks users to like and share as a means of supporting a family's lawsuit regarding an incident in which police killed a dog. The message claims that police threw a chair at the dog, tasered him twice, shot him twice, and left him to bleed to death. The message features an image of the dog.

However, the message makes no mention at all of where or when the incident took place. Nor does it mention the name of those filing the lawsuit or even the name of the dog. This lack of detail, and the call to "like and share" has caused many recipients to dismiss the message as either a like-farming scam or a hoax.

In fact, such a lawsuit was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court on July 10, 2013. The complaint states that police officers attending to a call about a shooting arrived at the residence of the dog's owner, Arturo Gonzalez and, even though he had no connection to the shooting, detained him in his car.  The complaint states that the dog, Chico Blue, was enclosed in Gonzalez’s yard at the time and was not a threat.  A press release about the lawsuit published on the Expand Animal Rights Now (EARN) website notes:
According to the complaint, Chico Blue posed no threat to the officers. However, one of the officers, apparently for his own amusement, picked up a lounge chair and threw it over the fence at Chico. Shortly after, another officer opened the gate to the area where the dog was securely enclosed and tasered him twice in the face. Chico Blue yelped in pain and despite Mr. Gonzalez’s repeated plea to let him take Chico Blue into his home, officers refused to acknowledge Mr. Gonzalez’s requests. After being tasered, Chico Blue staggered through the gate an officer had left opened. Even though the dog was already dazed and injured, an officer near the sidewalk drew his gun and shot Chico Blue twice. The dog attempted to flee by jumping into an officer’s open car door, where an officer kicked the door closed and allowed Chico Blue to bleed to death.

The complaint alleges that the conduct of Sheriff’s Department officers rises far above poor judgment to the level of inexplicable cruelty. The result was another unnecessary death of a family companion. Mr. Gonzalez’s complaint seeks justice for the officers’ misconduct.

In response to the incident, a Justice For Chico Blue Facebook Page was established. The incident has generated outrage, with many people voicing their condemnation of the police actions via Facebook and other online outlets.

According to a Huffington Post article about the case, a Los Angeles police spokesman maintains that the officers acted appropriately but he would not comment on details until the case went to court. The spokesman claimed that the information in the complaint did not tell the whole story and that police officers would be vindicated when full details were revealed in the court case.

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Last updated: September 18, 2013
First published: September 18, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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