ATHENS, Ohio – A man was using his free speech rights when he barked back at a police dog, a state appeals court has ruled.
The 4th Ohio District Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of charges against a man who answered the barks of Pepsie in this southeast Ohio city in September 2001.
Jeremy Gilchrist, then 21, encountered the dog, which was in a police cruiser, as he walked along a street with friends.
His attorney said he was trying to be funny when he barked back.
“The mere fact that the police dog had commenced the barking did not entitle it to a solo performance,” attorney Patrick McGee wrote in the appeal.
This is a knotty moral and legal problem, although I’m not clear what the man was charged with. Inciting the dog to riot? Disturbing the peace? Insulting a sworn dog of the law? Infringing on the dog’s right of free speech? Interfering with a police dog in the course of his duty? We need the Barrister’s input.