On July 6, 2013, a Georgia man named Randall Kevin Jones broke into his ex’s home and stole several items, including her television, camera, and game console. The unnamed ex called the police after spotting Jones leaving her home. Officers from the Gwinnett County Police Department responded to the scene.
The police found Jones and ordered him to surrender. Jones didn’t and started to run. He continued running, even after an officer threatened to send a police dog after him. The officer ultimately unleashed the dog, named Draco. Draco bit Jones, sending him falling into a ravine. Jones required some stitches for his injuries.
Two years later, Jones sued the police department for “excessive use of force.” As defendants, he named at least three officers and the dog, which was listed as “Officer K-9 Draco of the Gwinnett County Police Department in his individual capacity.” Jones claimed Officer K-9 Draco bit him “for what seemed like a lifetime.” He also claimed the officers watched and didn’t try to get Draco off him as this was happening.
Gwinnet County tried to have the lawsuit dismissed, but a federal judge rejected this, so the county appealed. Finally, Judge Robin Rosenbaum of the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta threw the case out, saying, “We hold that a dog may not be sued individually for negligence since a dog is not a person.” She added that dogs cannot be issued a subpoena, cannot get an attorney, and cannot pay damages if found guilty.