When a federal judge rejected Gwinnett’s initial attempt to dismiss the lawsuit, the county appealed. On Friday, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta threw out the case against Draco.
“We hold that a dog may not be sued individually for negligence since a dog is not a ‘person,’” Judge Robin Rosenbaum wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel. Georgia law, she noted, does not allow such claims to be litigated against dogs.
The mere notion of allowing a lawsuit against a dog raises abundant practical issues, Rosenbaum added. How would you formally serve the lawsuit on a dog? What about the dog's retention of legal representation? How can a dog be expected to pay damages?
Draco, a Belgian Malinois, retired from the K-9 unit in mid-2014 after seven years on the force, helping officers track down suspects and find stashes of illegal drugs.
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Draco: "He's an amazing animal," a Gwinnett police spokeswoman said. "His K-9 handler thought the world of him."