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Lyman couple files tort claims over fatal dog shooting

A Lyman couple has notified Scotts Bluff County and the city of Lyman they intend to file suit regarding the shooting of their rotweiler in late August of last year. The notice was made in separate tort claims filed with each entity.

Raul and Lupita Ayala say in their claim there was no justification for the shooting by Deputy Ray Huffman, who was working part-time as a Lyman Police officer. The Ayala's claim Huffman was not properly trained or equipped, that he improperly entered their property and caused the confrontation with "Bos" and that the shooting was "wrongful and negligent".

Lyman City Attorney Audrey Elliott has maintained Huffman shot the dog in self defense after it lunged at him several times, including once when it grabbed his arm and another time when he lunged at his face. Elliott says Huffman asked for assistance and tried to calm the animal down with pepper spray before the situation escalated. Ayala has admitted the dog was loose because he forgot to lock the kennel before leaving his house.

The Ayalas ask for $300,000 in damages in each claim due to a violation of their civil rights, an economic loss, loss of companionship from the killing of a beloved pet and for costs associated with veterinary fees and expenses incurred in conducting a necropsy.

Both political subdivisions have six months to work out a settlement or reject the claim, which would allow the Ayalas the choice to file suit. Lyman is expected to simply receive the claim at their meeting Wednesday evening and the county will likely do the same at their next meeting January 22nd.

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