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North Las Vegas settles fatal dog shooting for $125K

A man whose pit bull was shot and killed by a North Las Vegas police officer in 2013 has reached a settlement of more than $125,000 with the city.

The North Las Vegas City Council unanimously approved the settlement Oct. 2. The civil rights case was dismissed last week.

Edward Wheeler initially filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the North Las Vegas Police Department and Henderson Police Department in 2015. He was represented by Maggie McLetchie, who also serves as the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s outside counsel.

“He won’t be able to get his dog back, but we’re pleased we were able to reach a settlement,” McLetchie said Monday, adding that she wants to see the North Las Vegas Police Department update its policies for handling situations with dogs.

According to a City Council agenda item, the city attorney’s office recommended the settlement to preserve public money.

On Sept. 20, 2013, then-Officer Travis Snyder was standing guard in a lot behind Wheeler’s home while assisting Henderson police in serving a search warrant at another residence. He shot 2-year-old Miracle in the head from the other side of a block wall, according to the lawsuit.

The city claimed in its defense to the lawsuit that the officer shot the dog because of “the officers’ reasonable fear for their own safety and the safety of others.”

Snyder has since been promoted to sergeant.

Wheeler considered his dog’s killing an unreasonable seizure of his property.

Henderson settled the case with Wheeler for $10,000 in June, city spokeswoman Kathleen Richards said.

Other fatal dog shootings have been settled in Southern Nevada. In 2015, North Las Vegas paid $25,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit involving officers who shot two dogs to death while serving a search warrant in 2008. In 2017, the Metropolitan Police Department settled a fatal dog shooting case from 2009 for $199,000.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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