Frederick County couple gets $620,000 in dog shooting case
(AP/ABC7) - A Frederick County Circuit Court jury has awarded $620,000 in damages to a couple whose dog was shot by a sheriff's deputy.
The jury found that deputy Timothy Brooks, the deputy who pulled a gun and shot a chocolate lab belonging to Roger and Sandra Jenkins of Taneytown, violated the couple's rights when he shot the dog in January of 2010.
"It was very terrifying, because it was like one of your kids being shot," Sandra said.
Dashcam video from a Frederick County cruiser caught the entire Jan. 9, 2010 incident. The dog, Brandi, is seen bounding toward a Sheriff's deputy. The deputy pulls a gun, and despite Brandi stopping and appearing friendly, the deputy shoots her.
Deputies had responded to the Jenkins' home with a civil warrant on their son. When Roger and Sandra rushed their dog to a veterinarian, the deputies entered the home to serve the warrant.
The jury also found that Brooks and deputy Nathan Rector violated the couple's rights by entering their home without permission.
"The policy is shoot the dog first and ask questions later," Cary Hansel, the Jenkins' attorney, said. "That is not an acceptable policy."
Brooks called the jury's decision "outrageous and ridiculous." He says he wasn't able to fully explain during the trial why the dog's actions caused him to shoot.
"We're going back now and trying to second guess a split-second decision in a situation where a deputy was trying to protect himself," Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said.
Brandi ended up surviving the shooting but never fully recovered. Now 9 years old, the dog is plagued by a badly damaged leg that her owners say will probably be amputated in the next few months.
Sheriff's officials say an appeal in the case is possible.