A Van Nuys man on Friday was found not guilty of criminal charges stemming from an incident in which his dog was shot to death by a police officer who said he thought the animal was about to attack him.
Van Nuys Municipal Judge Leslie A. Dunn directed the verdict of acquittal, ruling that the prosecutor presented insufficient evidence to show that Robert Moore's dog, Jacques, had a history of violence or that Moore intended for the dog to charge the officer.
Moore had been charged with assault on a police officer and owning a vicious animal, both misdemeanors.
Testimony in the four-day trial revealed that Los Angeles Police Officer Gary Perkins had been summoned to Moore's rented house by the property manager, who had been attempting to collect overdue rent. The property manager suspected foul play because Moore had not responded to phone calls or knocks on the door, according to testimony.
Perkins said he rang the doorbell but got no response. When he entered the backyard, the screen door opened and Jacques ran out, he said. The officer said he ordered Moore to call off the dog and shot it when it lunged at him.