Woman Arrested for Making Faces at Dog
CHELSEA, Vt. (June 7) - A prosecutor has dropped charges against a
woman who was arrested for staring at and making faces at a police dog.
"Prosecuting a woman for `staring' at a police dog is absurd," said her
lawyer. "People are allowed to make faces at police dogs and officers
to express their disapproval. It's constitutional expression," said
public defender Kelly Green, who represented Jayna Hutchinson.
Hutchinson, 33, of Lebanon, N.H., was charged with cruelty to a police
animal and resisting arrest after a July 31 incident in West Fairlee in
which police were called to a market to investigate a report of a
brawl. They were approached by Hutchinson, who told one officer she had
been assaulted the day before by one of the men involved.
She asked Vermont State Police Sgt. Todd Protzman to take her statement
but he refused, telling her she smelled like alcohol and was drunk but
that he would take her statement at another time.
After a heated exchange, she approached Protzman's cruiser, where his
dog Max was waiting, putting her face within inches of the window and
"staring at him in a taunting/harassing manner," Protzman wrote in an
"While the defendant taunted my canine, Max was focused on the
defendant and the perceived threat she presented to him," the affidavit
said. "He was no longer focused on me and the other officers at the
Officers arrested Hutchinson, adding the resisting arrest charge
because she pulled her arms and upper body away during the arrest. She
registered 0.21 percent blood-alcohol content on a breath test, more
than twice the legal limit for drivers in Vermont.
On Tuesday, two days before Hutchinson was to go to trial, Orange
County State's Attorney Will Porter decided to drop the charges, after
viewing a videotape of the incident over the weekend.
"I think it was going to be difficult to prove her conduct changed the
dog's behavior," Porter said. "Most of the time (in harassment cases)
people would come tell the court what it felt like. Dogs can't do that."
Without the cruelty charge, jurors would be unlikely to convict her on the resisting arrest, Porter said.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.