Oregon cops have been sued by a woman who claims officers arrested her under questionable circumstances, then left her dog in her car for 17 days where she found it dead upon her release from custody.
Tamala Bemis filed the lawsuit in federal court last week against the City of Eugene, officer Brad Hanneman and several unnamed officers.
The suit claims the officers violated her civil rights and engaged in “conscience-shocking conduct” by refusing to contact her brother, whom she requested to tend to her 13-year-old red heeler named Magic inside her car parked in a cul-de-sac.
“That Magic died in such a cruel fashion, alone without water, and in extreme heat, haunts her to this very day,” the lawsuit, which can be read below, states.
Bemis stated to police during her detainment on October 5, 2015 that Magic was inside a nearby parked vehicle and that she feared the dog would die from overheating or starve to death with no food and water.
An in-car dash cam recorded Bemis repeatedly telling officers about the dog as well as the location and make of her car.
However, she was unable to provide a phone number for her brother, although she did provide her mother’s phone number and gave them directions to her car.
“I think they should have broken into the car to save the dog,” her attorney, Jeff Dominic Price of California, told Oregon Live on Monday.
Bemis told KATU she had gone for a bike ride and left Magic in the car with the engine running and the heat on.
She was arrested during her ride after Eugene Police suspected her of being connected with a burglary in the area after receiving a call about a male and female suspect on bicycles.
When officers tried to make contact with Bemis, she fled on her bike, crashed, then attempted to run on foot.
Bemis wasn’t arrested in connection with the burglary, but she was arrested on an outstanding warrant.
After she was released from jail more than two weeks later, she returned to her car to find Magic dead inside.
Bemis’ attorney argues cops had no probable cause to stop her in the first place at the time they detained her because she wasn’t engaged in any criminal activity.
“They basically stopped her for walking around at 3 a.m.,” Price said.