Riverside lawsuit settled by city for $30,000 in death of dog shot by police

July 18, 2014

A Riverside, California family seeking monetary damages for the death of their family dog has now been settled, The Press Enterprise reported the outcome on July 17.

Lindsey Gonzalez-Rivera and her husband Luis Rivera, owners of a pit bull named Brad Pitt, say police shot their dog through the gate of a chained link fence.

Police say Brad Pitt was vicious and attacked police when officers staked out a home on North Orange Street, and Officer Ryan Wilson attempted to take up a spot in the Riveras’ backyard two doors down from the suspect’s house.

In a lawsuit filed by Los Angeles-based attorney Nick Pacheco, Lindsey and Luis sued Wilson, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz and the Riverside Police Department for $150,000 each, plus punitive damages of $50,000 and attorney’s fees. This amount was rejected.

The Riverside City Council then rejected a claim for $75,000 in September 2013, and a settlement amount for $30,000 was later reached through mediation in December 2013. Both sides agreed to pay their own attorney fees.

Riverside spokesman Phil Pitchford told The Press-Enterprise

“We have a settlement that requires us not to comment, and we will respect that.”

What began as a plea for an apology from Riverside police, and a change in training eventually led to the $30,000 settlement after police refused to apologize. So instead of taking action that would train officer’s in dog behavior, the Riverside Police Department chose to use taxpayers money to settle the lawsuit.

Since police haven’t received additional training in non-lethal animal control, this scenario is likely to happen at some time in the future. No apology and no training mean more dogs will die at the hands of police.

The family has since adopted a shelter dog named Pugsley, but will never forget Brad Pit. Neither will those of us who follow the growing number of dogs shot by police when non-lethal methods were available.

Rivera commented on the settlement saying

“We just hope he knows that we didn’t give up.”

It’s sad that a dog’s life has been given a dollar amount, and that amount is $30,000. Please leave a comment if you agree.



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