UF linebacker Antonio Morrison was arrested this weekend for barking at a police dog, and resisting/obstructing an officer. Florida has a statute dealing with police dogs which has several levels of offenses for what is done to the dog. Morrison is charged with the lowest level, which prohibits interfering, harassing, or teasing a police dog in the course of its duties. It can be a felony to kill or seriously injure a K-9. It doesn’t specifically say barking at the dog, but everybody knows that agitating a dog will cause that dog to react.
Morrison’s defense would be that the agitation did not occur in the course of the performance of the dog’s duties. The dog was apparently restrained in his handler’s squad car when the barking began. He did not prevent the dog from doing any of its duties if it was locked up in the squad car at the time of the incident. That’s a tough sell for the prosecutor. Morrison could also argue that he wasn’t intentionally or maliciously harassing the dog. He’s claiming that the dog barked at him, and he was only responding with a “woof woof” sound because the dog barked at him. He also has to deal with the obstruction charge.
This case would make a fun trial to watch, but it’s unlikely to go that far. Morrison probably has bigger concerns than this case, as he’s also facing a battery charge.