Family sues city in dog's death

By Anna Carrera

Published 11/10 2013 08:01PM

Updated 11/12 2013 06:19PM

Update: 5:56 pm, 11/12/13, Tuesday
CHAMPAIGN -- City officials are waiting for a lawsuit involving a police officer to be served. The Saathoff family is suing the city and police department after an officer shot and killed the family's dog.

It happened last November after the pet was attacked by another dog. The city's attorney says he hasn't seen the paperwork yet, but added nobody wanted to see an animal get killed. The city's risk manager says he's been in contact with the family during the past year.

Original: 8:01 pm, 11/10/13, Sunday
CHAMPAIGN -- Their dog was shot and killed by a police officer, now they're suing. It's been one year since the shots were fired. As WCIA-3's Megan Brilley found, the family says nothing has been done, so they're taking it into their own hands.

Like most people, Jacob and Kathy Saathoff have a daily routine. They go on morning walks with their dog. But with every step they take, memories aren't far behind.

"We can still look over and see him laying there," Jacob Saathoff said.

Their daughter was walking their dog when they say it was attacked by a pitbull. When police got on scene, the family started hearing gunshots.

"Bullet wound to the neck, went through his lungs, lodged in his shoulder. He gasped for air. He suffered," Kathy Saathoff said.

The Saathoff's dog died not long after.

"You think it's going to get easier because it's almost been a year. But I remember it like it was yesterday."

For months, they've been calling the city but now they're done asking questions. The Saathoff's recently filed a lawsuit against the city and the man who pulled the trigger, Officer Andre Davis. The family hasn't figured out a dollar amount but they know it's going to have to be a big enough number to spark change in the department.

"There's an officer that has already been reprimanded once for shooting his weapon. This is his second time. Our issue is, how many more times does he get?"

The Champaign Police Department declined to comment, but have said they are sorry for the family's loss and the officer was just following protocol.

In the end, for this family it's not about the money. It's so people like them can feel safe, during their daily routine.

"We want to make sure that nobody else ever has to go through this again."

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