Family of Slain Dog Arfee Awarded $80,000

“This was a regrettable event that the city has taken complete responsibility for,” Mayor Steve Widmyer.

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You may remember Arfee, the dog who was tragically killed by a police officer last July while he was inside a parked van.  Now his heartbroken family has been awarded an $80,000 settlement from the Idaho city where the incident took place.

Craig Jones had parked his van outside of a coffee shop in Coeur d’Alene to grab some lunch.  Two-year-old Arfee was inside with the window rolled down a bit.  Officer David Kelley believed that inside the van was a man who was ogling children, and with his gun drawn, put his face right up to the window.

He claimed Arfee “lunged” at him, and even though the window wasn’t open enough to allow Arfee to attack him, Kelley shot and killed the black Lab.  A police statement called him a “vicious pit bull,” which is discriminatory against both Arfee and pit bulls.

“If my dog is barking and wondering who’s peering through the windows, he doesn’t care if you’re a cop, an attorney, or President Bush. He doesn’t know any different,” Jones explained.

An investigation determined that Kelley violated the department’s policies on the use of deadly force by recklessly shooting his gun and in addition to killing Arfee, putting other lives at risk.

“The potential for injury to citizens, including a potential suspect in the vehicle, does not appear to have been factored in to the decision prior to using deadly force,” read the police review.


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Jones filed a lawsuit against the city seeking damages of $350,000, which is comparable to the $333,000 awarded to a family of a dog killed by a Chicago police officer in 2009.

“I do think it’s a very reasonable offer given the history of other cases around the country, given the epidemic of police killing people’s companion dogs, and the failure of police departments to take this as seriously as they should and to rectify it,” said attorney Adam Karp.

“This case is based on the value of Arfee, of course, to Mr. Jones,” he continued. “There’s also essentially the ‘psychic totaling’ of the vehicle, for lack of a better description. … So every time Mr. Jones would have to get into that van, he’d have to essentially re-enact in his mind the horror of what happened to his dog and the blood stains. Essentially it totaled the vehicle.”

The claim also sought damages for “the emotional distress, the wrecking of his life, over this event,” Karp said. “And that’s where I think you see a substantial part of the damages.”

If the city did not settle with Jones, Karp says the suit would have been filed in federal court for his client’s protection under the Fourth Amendment against the unlawful seizure of property.  Coeur d’Alene settled on $80,000.

“This was a regrettable event that the city has taken complete responsibility for,” Mayor Steve Widmyer said in a statement. “I want to again extend our apologies to Mr. Jones.”

Hopefully now Arfee’s family can have some closure, and possibly adopt a new dog to honor his memory.


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262 thoughts on “Family of Slain Dog Arfee Awarded $80,000

  1. I don’t want to say maybe now they can find peace because they will never get their baby back but maybe now they can find closure and heal

  2. This is crazy they kill the poor dog for no reason! N they offering money. The have no sympathy. They all get trigger happy. When feels threathend

  3. If ever the family does take the money, I know this will not change the fact that for them their beloved Arfee is gone forever and that is the biggest tragedy!!!

  4. That doesn’t bring their beloved pet back. That policeman shouldn’t be allowed to have any instrument that can kill.

  5. I’d love to see the same result against the police in pg county md for killing the mayor of greenbelt’s dogs

    I wish they would have the same type of judgment against the PG police who killed the mayor of Greenbelt’s dogs – and made his mother in law lie in their blood. Unbelievable story on that.

  6. Yay!!! It doesn’t bring their family member back but it makes a statement! Don’t kill our family members!

  7. I’ve heard this story or very similar too many times. What is wrong with the police? Having police dogs they must realize that there is a special bond between man/ women and dog. I just don’t understand.

  8. I am a retired Poluce Officer and am sooo sorry this happened. Horrible. I have 3 dogs and a cat that I could not imagine losing them in any way , let alone like this. Tragic. There are no words. Bless your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  9. you know what cop’s think they can do what ever they want these days but it come and slaps them in the butt every time it is all over the news i for one dont trust even the cop’s………………………………

  10. It doesn’t bring him back, but at least it makes a statement we are not gonna stand by and let dumb ass cops kill our furkids !!!!

  11. Hate that the fact a dog is considered JUST property and nothing more.. But at least this is a step towards them being valuable property anyway. Wish it came from his pocket and not the city coffers. It wouldn’t cover my lawyer fees when I dismember that bastard

  12. RIP to this beautiful baby. Did the so called officer get fired or a slap on the wrist and and told not to shoot a dog fondling a child in a van.

  13. The mean (avg) temperature in July 2014 in this particular city was 72.8 . Please don’t leave your dog in the car in hot weather.

  14. What if a child had been in the back seat and jumped at you, would you have shot them? Would have cost you a lot more than 80000 then! That guy shouldn’t be a police officer if he shots so recklessly. He had no valid reason to even be suspicious of anything, people are allowed to sit in their cars. ..

  15. Are you kidding me!! $80,000???…there is no amount of money in the world to make up for what happened or to bring this precious dog back. This dog is priceless!

  16. Since when does driving a van make you a suspected pedophile? Does he draw his weapon on every parked van WTF. How do they hire these morons.

  17. I’m an avid animal lover, but I don’ t believe paying that amount of compensation is right. It’s putting a price on a life and love. It cheapens it. Too much these days is answered by the demand and dispensation of money. A life has been lost. Money can’t bring it back.

  18. Sorry for the loss.. That police officer should’ve been fired and shot the way he did to the dog! A family member’s life doesn’t cost anything. I can be in jail if someone did it to any of my dogs.

  19. What a very sad story, but it seems the city was good about the situation. It just scares the crap out of me, when police officers are suppose to protect animals left in vehicles or check on their welfare. Seems like we hear about way too many shootings of innocent animals and people that never should have been arrested in the first damn place. Enough! Hire some men and women instead of little boys and girls. Some cops are just too young or too old and burnt out. Bless this baby and all that loved him. <3

  20. I am not surprised just because this was Idaho. Cops here would do the same thing they did to the dog to people (especially non-whites). Beware!

  21. I would rather drop the “all cops suck” deal. But I’m sure if it was my dog, I would be super pissed. I don’t know how you put a monetary value to a dog. Or a family member.

  22. And what happened to the pig cop who shot him? Probably nothing. He didn’t have to pay up so it was nothing to him….

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