• Court weighs if officer should be charged in K9 attack

    Updated:

    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A police dog biting case has made it to Georgia's highest court.
     
    Andor, a DeKalb County police dog, bit an 11-year-old boy in 2011.  Chandler Key, the victim, was playing football with friends in his neighborhood when he was attacked.
     
    Key suffered a deep wound and needed stitches.  
     
    The child's family thinks the dog's handler, Officer Lynn Eshleman, is liable for his injuries and wants her to stand trial.
     
    Eshleman lives in the same neighborhood.  In court filings, Eshleman's attorney said she thought she'd locked the dog's kennel, but had not.
     
    An attorney for the boy's father and a DeKalb County attorney squared off in front of Georgia's Supreme Court on Tuesday.
     
    The justices must decide whether Eshleman has official immunity or whether her status as a police officer keeps her from being liable for the  child's injuries.

    "We have these code sections for a reason, so folks like Chandler, children like Chandler, don’t get attacked," Key's attorney, M. Chase Swanson, told the justices.
     
    "Immunity is supposed to prevent the officer from having to go to trial in the first place," DeKalb County Attorney Kendric Smith argued.
     
    Some of Key's and Eshleman's neighbors told Channel Two Action News that they believe the officer is responsible for what happened to the boy.
     
    "She is responsible ... everyone should take care of their pets. It was an accident., She didn't latch the door and it got out. It was still an accident and it still happened," Walton County resident Tom Taylor said.
     
    "Police dog or otherwise, it's the pet owner's responsibility to take care of their pet," Walton County resident Judy Thomason said.
     
    Justices are expected to rule in the case before July.


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