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Police Dogs

Injuries from Police Dogs

K-9 units are an invaluable tool for law enforcement. But police dogs are also dangerous to the public because (a) as animals they can be unpredictable or difficult to control once unleashed, and (b) they can be trained and ordered to inflict harm.

Bitten or Injured by a Police Dog?
Contact the Law Offices of John L. Burris today at 510-379-7215. Our lawyers handle police misconduct cases, including improper use of police dogs, throughout the Bay Area and Northern California.

Lawsuits Involving Police Dogs

John Burris is a veteran civil rights attorney who has won numerous verdicts and settlements in dog bite lawsuits against California police departments. Our clients have included both criminal suspects and innocent bystanders who suffered serious lacerations, scarring, nerve damage or emotional trauma from being chased and bitten by German shepherd police dogs.

We work to show that the injuries should have been prevented or represented a violation of the constitutional right against excessive force. Some examples:

  • The dog could not be stopped, ignoring the handler's commands to quit biting.
  • The officer failed to call off the dog, or did not call it off immediately.
  • The dog escaped its handler and attacked an innocent person.
  • The officer sicced the dog on the wrong (innocent) person.
  • The officer deployed the dog against a suspect who posed no threat.
  • The officer ordered the dog to bite in a punitive manner.

John Burris's Landmark Police Dog Case

One of our cases resulted in a change in department policy for the Oakland Police Department (OPD). In 1993, Mr. Burris represented a burglary suspect who suffered extensive wounds on his feet and legs when the police dog cornered him. At the time, the OPD trained its dogs to "find and bite," clamping onto a suspect and not letting go, or re-biting a suspect who resisted or flinched. As a result of the monetary settlement in Watkins v. City of Oakland, the OPD changed its canine training to a "find and bark" policy.

If you suffered serious injuries from a police dog attack, contact the Law Offices of John L. Burris for an evaluation of your possible lawsuit.

Law Offices of John L. Burris
Airport Corporate Centre | 7677 Oakport Street, Suite 1120 | Oakland, CA 94621
Phone: 510-379-7215 | Fax: 510-839-3882 | E-mail Us | Map and Directions