'Jerry Springer' producer battles city leash law
Mar. 22, 1997
HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ A producer of confrontational, in-your-face TV got into a shouting match with a dogcatcher that police had to come and break up.
Cited last month for violating a city leash law, ``Jerry Springer'' producer Al Bowman demanded a jury trial to hear his case, claiming his 5-pound Chihuahua named Max is no public menace.
Max had a leash but no one was holding it so the dog could play fetch at a city park, Bowman said.
``All the signs say you must have your dog on a leash; it doesn't say you have to be holding onto the leash,'' Bowman said. ``We're not talking about a vicious dog. We're talking about the smallest dog in the world who was not a threat to anyone.''
Animal control officer Susy Reed says Bowman wouldn't been cited if not for the verbal abuse that greeted her arrival on the scene.
``I was just going to warn him,'' Reed said. ``That's what I usually do.''
Shouted insults from Bowman and his fiancee prompted Reed to call police.
Bowman acknowledged his fiancee called Reed a ``fascist Nazi'' and referred to her with a vulgar slur, but he said he apologized after police showed up.
Still, he'll fight the citation, turning down an opportunity last week to end the matter by paying a $70 fine, demanding a jury trial instead. His next court date is May 12.
``My little dog clearly was at our feet and was not out of control or straying,'' said Bowman, who has hired an animal rights attorney and hopes the judge will allow Max to appear in court.
``I plan to make a mockery of this,'' Bowman said. ``We'll bring in big diagrams, photos of the scene and life-size pictures of Max.
``My plan is to embarrass the city worldwide,'' Bowman said.