Jury sides with Pierce County in K-9 lawsuit

A federal jury deliberated for less than a hour this week before deciding Pierce County sheriff’s deputies were not negligent when they sicced a police dog on a man they were trying to arrest four years ago.

Ronald Jones had sued the county for damages, saying he was hospitalized after being attacked by the dog, Oni, the night of Feb. 6, 2011.

Jones contended in his lawsuit that deputies had no cause to sic Oni on him, that he did not know deputies were seeking to arrest him when he stepped onto his back porch to smoke a cigarette.

The incident occurred at a house in the 15700 block of 62nd Avenue East in Puyallup.

He sought damages for medical expenses, lost income and emotional distress.

The county argued that its deputies acted appropriately to apprehend a potentially dangerous man wanted on an arrest warrant. Jones was trying to flee when Oni was set loose, they argued in court records.

The verdict was announced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.