U.S. Supreme Court asked to hear case over dog’s shooting by SLCPD

SALT LAKE CITY — Sean Kendall has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of his lawsuit over a Salt Lake City police officer who shot and killed his dog.

Kendall’s attorney, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, filed a petition for certiorari with the nation’s top court on Friday, asking the justices to decide an issue of Fourth Amendment exemptions.

“Certiorari is warranted here to resolve the split of authority and to clarify the proper scope of the ’emergency aid’ exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment, particularly in instances of missing children and other missing vulnerable people,” Anderson wrote.

Kendall sued Salt Lake City police after his dog, Geist, was shot in 2014. A police officer was searching for a missing child and wandered into Kendall’s backyard, where he startled Geist. The dog ran at the officer, who shot and killed him. The child ultimately was found — inside his own home.

The shooting sparked protests against police, who have made policy changes.

Kendall’s lawsuit has been rejected twice now, by a district court judge here in Utah and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But Anderson argued that the federal appeals court has given police broader powers now than what is legally allowed.

“Based on the authority of the new standard announced by the court of appeals and the district court in this case, police will now have license to engage in searches for missing people based simply on access and proximity, even when the police have no
objectively reasonable basis for believing (1) any missing person is on the particular premises to be searched or (2) that the particular places actually searched have some connection to the emergency,” he wrote.

The U.S. Supreme Court receives thousands of petitions for certiorari every term, but only agrees to hear a handful. It will be months before the justices announce which cases they will hear.

Read Kendall’s petition to SCOTUS here: