Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Woman Faced Jail Time for LOOKING at Police Dog

Animal cruelty case yields 'doggone' dismissal

June 6, 2007

By Peter Hirschfeld Times Argus Staff

CHELSEA – A woman facing jail time for "staring" at a police dog had charges against her dropped Monday after an Orange County prosecutor viewed videotape of the alleged crime.

Jayna Hutchinson, now of Lebanon, N.H., was scheduled for a jury trial this week on a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals.

A Vermont State Police sergeant said Hutchinson was intoxicated and stared at his police dog in a "taunting/harassing manner" last July while officers were in the process of investigating a reported melee outside a West Fairlee establishment.

"Prosecuting a woman for staring at a police dog is absurd," said Kelly Green, a public defender appointed by Vermont District Court in Orange County to represent Hutchinson. She likened the act to giving a police officer the finger – a form of expression protected by rights accorded under the First Amendment.

"After looking at the video, I did not think it was worthwhile proceeding," Orange County State's Attorney Will Porter said Tuesday.

He said it would be difficult to prove that Hutchinson's behavior met the statutory standard for cruelty to animals, which in this case would have required that Hutchinson "intentionally torment(ed) or harass(ed) an animal owned … by a police department."

According to an affidavit, Hutchinson approached Sgt. Todd Protzman on the night of July 31 as he and at least three other officers were investigating a fight. Hutchinson, who later registered a .218 blood-alcohol content, told Protzman she wanted to report that she had been beat up the night before by one of the men involved in the fight, according to Green.

Green said the video showed Protzman mocking Hutchinson's appearance.

"I think his comment about Jayna's looks revealed the real reason he arrested her," Green said. "I'd venture a guess to say that if she'd been small and pretty and had been complaining of being assaulted, he may have done more to investigate her claims."

Porter said he saw no indication of improper behavior by Protzman and that he was doing his best to deal with a very intoxicated person.

"Ms. Hutchinson was very intoxicated. Did he have some abrupt comments toward her? Yeah," Porter said. "He had some curt responses to get her out of his hair so he could attend to what he was there for."

What the we live in Nazi Germany now? This is so absurd that I have trouble wrapping my head around it. And people wonder why I laugh when cops do things like crash their dope choppers.


Jason said...

This is the biggest pile of shit iv heard. i hope the sued them for false charges!

Mark said...

How can you stare at a police dog in a "taunting/harassing manner?" This is absurd, mind-blowingly inane.

This police officer (who won't be turning down recruitment offers from Mensa anytime soon) apparently has never seen the way well-trained K9 units look at passers-by: like they are slabs of meat and the dinner bell is about to ring. I'm willing to bet, never having seen the dog or the woman, that it was the dog staring down the woman and not the other way around.

That's all dogs do: stare. They attempt to establish dominance by refusing to break eye contact until you do. If there's a law against staring at a dog, why isn't the dog held to the same standard?

These egocentric bully cops (and yes, I'm including the dog in this; he is no innocent bystander and he's been corrupted by his partner) are a blight on law enforcement. They should be stripped of their badges and relegated to a nice retirement farm house -- where they can be converted into something useful, like wood glue.