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News Link • Courtroom and Trials

Federal Court Rules Unlicensed Pets are 'Contraband' -- Police Can Legally Kill Them


Detroit, MI – Nikita Smith filed a lawsuit against the Detroit Police Department after they killed her three dogs during a raid of her home in search of pot last year. On Wednesday, a judge absurdly ruled the dogs were considered "contraband," noting that Smith had no legal basis to sue the police department for shooting and killing her dogs, due to the canines not having been properly licensed.

Subsequently, the federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Smith after a raid of her home by the Detroit police was dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge George Caram Steeh.

According to a report by Reason:

The ruling is the first time a federal court has considered the question of whether an unlicensed pet—in violation of city or state code—is protected property under the Fourth Amendment. Federal courts have established that pets are protected from unreasonable seizures (read: killing) by police, but the city of Detroit argued in a motion in March that Smith's dogs, because they were unlicensed, were "contraband" for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment, meaning she had no legitimate property interest in them and therefore no basis to sue the officers or department.

Sadly, Judge Steeh agreed with the city's ridiculous assertion that since the dogs were not licensed, they were not a legitimate property interest, thus giving Smith no legal basis to sue either the department or the individual officer/s that killed her dogs.

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