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Article by BY ROBERT RODRIGUEZ – Fresno Bee

A Fresno family was awarded $800,000 in damages after a jury found the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office violated their civil rights and acted with negligence when it entered their home and killed their family pet. The jury reached its verdict on Wednesday after deliberating for nearly three days. The incident happened on June 3, 2018 at the home of Veronica Ordaz Gonzalez and Jose Ramos Santiago, who live in the 100 block of Lind Avenue in southeast Fresno. Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the home and told Gonzalez they were looking for a suspect who vandalized his parents’ car. The deputies were told the suspect might be at the home, according to a civil lawsuit filed against the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies wanted to search the home, but Gonzalez said she didn’t know the person they were looking for and would not allow deputies in her home. What happened next was in dispute. A deputy alleges Gonzalez gave him consent to search; she denies it. The family’s lawyer Nolan Kane, a partner with Paboojian Inc., said his clients were placed in handcuffs while four deputies searched the home. The deputies also tied up the family’s dog, Scooby, while a canine officer and his handler were in the backyard. Kane said Scooby got loose and ran to the backyard where a deputy shot and killed him. “The deputy said the dog bit the leg of his canine, but there were no injuries to the canine, and no visit to the vet,” Kane said. “Our theory was there was no dog bite. It was an unreasonable amount of force on the dog.”


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