When a Palo Alto police dog barked at Richard Dillon, the Menlo
Park man barked back.
Dillon's actions didn't amuse Palo Alto police, who cited him on
a misdemeanor charge of taunting a police dog. On Tuesday, Dillon
pleaded not guilty in Santa Clara County court.
Now Dillon hopes to go to trial, because he thinks the charge is
``ridiculous,'' said his attorney, Donald Tasto.
Dillon was arrested March 5 at about 12:20 a.m., police said. He
and a co-worker were walking down Ramona Avenue in Palo Alto after
enjoying a night of Mardi Gras festivities, Tasto said.
As Dillon approached Palo Alto police officer Bob Wilkie's squad
car -- occupied only by Odin, the canine -- Odin began to bark, said
police spokesman Jim Coffman. As Dillon passed the open back window,
he barked back at the dog. A heavy-duty wire screen was all that
separated man and beast, Coffman said.
Police say Dillon not only barked, but also shook his fist at
Odin. Wilkie cited Dillon on a charge of willfully and maliciously
interfering with the duties of a police dog.
Dillon denies that he shook his fist at Odin, and said he only
barked once at the dog, from a distance of about 10 feet, Tasto
said. Neither Wilkie nor Dillon could be reached for comment
The charge, which carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail, is
unfair for two reasons, Tasto said: Dillon didn't bark maliciously,
and Odin wasn't working at the time.
Santa Clara County prosecutors said they couldn't yet comment on
``We are currently reviewing the law and investigating the facts
in more detail,'' said supervising deputy district attorney Jay
Dillon's next hearing in Santa Clara County court is