Court: Police can shoot dog if it moves or barks when cop enters home

A ruling from the 6th Circuit Court serves as a warning to dog owners: Teach your dog to sit still and be quiet or risk police justifiably shooting the dog.

Mark and Cheryl Brown petitioned the court to hold the city and police officers from Battle Creek, Mich., accountable for shooting and killing their dogs while executing a search warrant of their home looking for evidence of drugs. The plaintiffs said the police officers' actions amounted to the unlawful seizure of property in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The circuit court on Monday agreed with a lower court ruling siding with the police officers.

"The standard we set out today is that a police officer's use of deadly force against a dog while executing a warrant to search a home for illegal drug activity is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment when, given the totality of the circumstances and viewed from the perspective of an objectively reasonable officer, the dog poses an imminent threat to the officer's safety," Judge Eric Clay wrote in the court's opinion.