Ex-con sues dog, Vacaville police, PG&E

By From page A4 | April 27, 2013

FAIRFIELD — Dog bites man. Man sues dog for $5 million.

Eric S. Buenafe, an ex-con with a local criminal record dating back nearly 25 years, sued a 7-year-old Belgian Malinoi named Koda, who accompanies Vacaville Police K-9 Officer Kelli Gottlieb in patrolling their city.

Buenafe, 46, filed his lawsuit last week in federal court in Sacramento. He is doing time in the Yolo County Jail in Woodland, where he has been locked up since January.

In addition to naming Koda as a defendant, Buenafe’s lawsuit names the Vacaville Police Department and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. as co-defendants.

Buenafe was found by Koda in a Peabody Road PG&E storage yard on the night of April 10, 2012. Koda and several Vacaville police officers had gone to the secured storage yard after getting phone calls reporting two men were spotted entering the storage yard shortly before 3 a.m.

Police found one man lying in the bed of a pickup truck parked near the PG&E yard in the Costco parking lot. Police also found a pair of binoculars, burglary tools and a bag of methamphetamine in the truck.

Koda was sent into the yard and helped apprehend Buenafe, who suffered a bite wound on his lower leg. Police found a pair of bolt cutters near where Buenafe was discovered.

Two weeks after his arrest on a felony attempted theft charge and a charge of violating parole, Buenafe pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor.

Gottlieb, who is not named in the lawsuit, was unavailable Friday to comment on the lawsuit against Koda.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

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