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Police Dog Barks Out Testimony

August 21, 1991

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ He didn’t have to swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but. All Eluo had to do was bark.

The Boca Raton police dog was the final witness Monday in the trial of Rodney Thomas, charged with trying to strangle the pooch when officers tried to get him out from under a house. Police had cornered Thomas while trying to arrest him on a burglary warrant.

Eluo was biting Thomas’ pants leg when Thomas choked the dog and shoved its head into the ground, said Officer Richard Barnett, the dog’s handler. Defense attorney David McPherrin said his client was trying to defend himself from the 82-pound German shepherd.

Prosecutor Maura McGuigan said Thomas received ample warning to surrender or face the dog - with a few barks as incentive. She requested that Eluo bark to show the jury how loud the warning had been.

Eluo’s bark, which echoed down the courthouse hallway, apparently was convincing. The jury convicted Thomas after 15 minutes of deliberation. Thomas could be sentenced to a year in jail for the offense.

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