There are a number of facts that headline presupposes, two of which are: a municipality or other official body put together a doggie lineup and that same body was unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the dog identified was responsible for the biting. What follows is the story of Jackie, a sausage of a Jack Russell mix who, in the eyes of Magistrate Catherine Rheinberger, did not bite a jogger on the leg.
Sadly, the doggie lineup was not one where several dogs were physically lined up before a miniature wall, papered with height lines reaching as tall as four feet. This was a photo lineup, which, for humans, is totally legal (I am not familiar with dog case law precedent, or if dogs even have constitutionally protected rights). So, after she was bitten and reported the incident to animal control, Andrea Clarke was shown a series of photographs of dogs, choosing Jackie as the assailant.
Jackie's owner, Murray Richards, appeared in the Magistrates' Court in Hobart today, where he pleaded not guilty to owning a dog which attacked a person and being the owner of a dog at large.
The court heard Ms Clarke was running about 6.45pm when a small white and tan dog ran out of a gate and clamped onto her leg.
Ms Clarke said the bite drew blood and she sought medical treatment.
Ms Clarke admitted she was not familiar with dog breeds, but said the dog which bit her looked a bit like a corgi.
Ms. Clarke's confusion was the first, but not the last, break for Jackie. You see, there is a very similar stray who frequents the area of the assault and Jackie's owner testified that he had seen the dog near his home several times. But more than anything, it was a rock-solid alibi that saved her: "Jackie was on heat at the time and was securely locked inside the property's garage, he said."
Based on the testimony and the general limitations of eyewitness accounts, the magistrate dismissed all charges against Jackie.
Doggie line-up ID dismissed [The Mercury]