27
Jul/11

Ollie on Free Speech: Taunting a Police K-9


I’m Ollie, senior dog correspondent.  Defendant was inches away from a police K-9 named Timber, no doubt a good dog, making barking and hissing noises, agitating Timber.   When a police officer approached defendant (who apparently smelled of alcohol), defendant informed the officer that ‘the dog started it.’  Defendant was arrested for the misdemeanor of maliciously or willfully teasing a police dog.   Held: the court distinguished this case from an earlier holding where defendant was at least thirty feet from the animal and there was no possibility of any physical contact with the police dog in that instance.   Here, defendant had stirred the dog to a violent and disruptive level, where the K-9 could have been seriously injured.  The sufficiently important governmental interest of preventing such injury justified the incidental limitation on First Amendment freedoms.  Furthermore, the court ‘failed to see any message the Defendant intended to convey” in his barking and hissing. Motion to dismiss overruled.

And if you bark or hiss at me, I will silently judge you.

Thank you to Professor Volokh for this.

 

 

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