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Owner of Dog Shot by Policeman Is Acquitted

October 12, 1985|JAN KLUNDER | Times Staff Writer

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.

Officer's 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.

In dismissing the vicious-dog charge, Dunn noted that the prosecutor had presented no evidence that the 6-year-old German shepherd had ever bitten anyone.

Dunn said the fact that Moore opened the door did not prove that he was using the animal to commit an assault. There was no evidence that Moore had issued a verbal command for the dog to attack, she said.

The trial was heard by a jury, but Dunn ordered the acquittal at the conclusion of the prosecution's case.

Moore claims that the city attorney filed the charges against him in retaliation for a $10-million civil suit he filed against the city alleging that his civil rights were violated when police forcibly entered his yard. The suit is scheduled for trial in December.

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