San Luis Obispo reached a settlement with a local dog owner who'd filed a claim against the city over a 2019 incident in which a police officer shot and killed his dog in his driveway.
City resident Nick Regalia and his former partner, Riley Manford, received $70,000 in the Oct. 1 settlement to cover emotional and financial damages, as well as attorney fees.
"It's not a form of justice," Regalia told New Times. "They're just paying me off, basically."
- File Photo Courtesy Of Nick Regalia And Riley Manford
- DAMAGES SLO dog owners received a $70,000 settlement from the city after a police officer shot and killed their pit bull in 2019.
SLO Police Officer Joshua Walsh shot their dog, Bubbs, twice on Sept. 26, 2019, after the pit bull-boxer mix had been growling at officers who'd arrived at their house mid-morning in response to a false-alarm burglary call.
The dog owners described Walsh's impulse to shoot as reckless and unnecessary, while police claimed Bubbs had been "charging" at the officers in the driveway.
The city of SLO has denied all of New Times' records requests to review the officer body camera footage and the findings of an internal police investigation. City Attorney Christine Dietrick only acknowledged in a recent email that the city had completed an internal investigation.
State law now compels police agencies to release those records in cases of police-involved shootings—but only when human beings are the victims, not animals, according to Dietrick.
After he spent most of the past year on administrative leave or reassignment, Walsh went back on patrol for the SLO Police Department on July 13.
Regalia told New Times that the $70,000 settlement did nothing to achieve his goal of getting Walsh terminated for the shooting. But he said the department has since adopted some animal training for its officers, and he added that his experience serves as another example of why police reform is needed.
"I would trade every cent [of the settlement] just for him to be held accountable," Regalia said. "They knew they messed up. It wasn't what I was looking for, obviously, but hopefully it's going to enact some change." Δ