Dog Bite | Animal Behavior Expert Witness For Attorneys

Richard H. Polsky, Ph.D. CDBC
Los Angeles, California

“Bringing the science of animal behavior to attorneys”

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Police Dog Attack Verdict: $222,000 Awarded to California Victim

Twenty-eight year-old Dean Newhall concedes that he was combative with police and concedes that he was under the influence of drugs when he was arrested in Lodi, California in April 2010. During his arrest, police used batons and tasers to subdue him.

However, as the arrest was about to conclude and after police had Newhall handcuffed and lying face down, their K-9 service dog, Bronx, jumped out of the patrol car and attacked Newhall. Bronx was not ordered to attack.

Bronx repeatedly bit Newhall in his face, and he has been permanently disfigured with numbness and tingling around his mouth.

Nonetheless, this unfortunate police dog attack was described as an “accident” by the Lodi city attorney. According to the city attorney “The city certainly believes the officers acted appropriately. We don’t contend it was appropriate to send the dog. Our officers did not intend to send the dog.” Bronx was subsequently (and appropriately) retired from the police force.

The behavior of this police dog was not an accident, but rather consistent with the nature of these dogs and the unpredictable manner in how these kind of dogs may react when police are in the process of subject apprehension.

Settlement In this case was reached for the $222,000, but plaintiff’s attorney felt that if the case went to trial a jury might have awarded them as much as $1 million.

Lodi, population 62,000, is located in central California, San Joaquin Valley, an area in California best known for wine production.


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