Judge bars vet's barking service dog

Jan. 30, 2013 at 3:29 PM

DETROIT, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A judge barred a combat veteran attending a trial from bringing his service dog into a Detroit courthouse after the miniature poodle barked at jurors.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Lawrence Talon said the small dog, named Lt. Dani, could influence jurors, The Detroit News reported. The dog belongs to U.S. Army Col. Timothy McKernan, who wants to attend the trial of his daughter's boyfriend.

McKernan has asked the judge to reverse his order Monday keeping Lt. Dani away from the trial. But Talon said fairness to the defendant and prosecutors is more important.

"My responsibility is to make sure the defendant and the prosecutor, who represents the people of the state of Michigan, have a fair trial," the judge said. "And that's why I told the gentleman that he had to take the dog out of the building and couldn't bring it back in."

McKernan has served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Somalia. The dog, prescribed for post-traumatic stress disorder, has been trained to bark when strangers approach.

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