The 4th Ohio District court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of charges against a man who returned the barks of police dog Pepsie in Athens, Ohio, in September 2001.

Jeremy Gilchrist, then 21, came across the dog, which was in a police cruiser, as he walked along a street with friends. His attorney said he was trying to be funny when he barked back.

State law makes it illegal to taunt, torment, or hit a police dog or horse. Officer Krishea Osborne testified that Gilchrist’s barking made the dog “work himself into a frenzy.”

But Athens County Municipal Judge Douglas Bennett threw out the charges last June, saying the law violated the right to free speech. The appeals court agreed.

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