Officials in Niagara County, in western New York, are being sued by the parents of Roger Dunn over allegations that a coroner took a piece of his body for canine police training following his death last year.
According to The Associated Press, Dunn, 32, was killed in a car accident in Cambria on April 13, 2012. His body was then taken to the office of Niagara County Coroner Russell Jackman, but not before he gave some of Dunn’s tissue to volunteer Fire Chief Vincent Salerno who was engaged in training a dog to track human remains.
Both men have since resigned and have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors regarding their conduct. Both were also fined $1,000, as well as sentenced to 100 hours of community service for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Both have also written letters of apology to the parents, Danny and Anita Dunn.
Nevertheless, the The Buffalo News reported, “the suit filed by Lewiston attorney Michael J. Dowd, says that the victim’s parents didn’t know until they heard media reports that Jackman had removed a piece of their son’s body tissue, which he gave to Salerno for use in training a dog to sniff out cadavers.”
County officials have tried to downplay the incident, calling it a “well-intentioned mistake,” AP said, but the parents of the deceased aren’t buying.
Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour said training dogs with cadavers is standard procedure but he added, “There are legal means to obtain cadaver parts. … They didn’t follow those legal guidelines.”