Judge rules trooper in K9 case should be reinstated

June 5, 2008 2:14:43 PM PDT
A judge recommended that a former state trooper, who is accused of abusing his canine partner, get his job back.

In the video, then Highway Patrol Sergeant Charles Jones is standing next to a deck at the trooper training center. A dog, named Ricoh, can be seen hanging off the rail next to him.

After tying the dog off with its feet touching the ground, Jones jumps down to try to get the Belgian Malinoise to let go of a training toy. He begins kicking the dog.

During a court hearing in April, Jones testified that on the day in question, when Ricoh "wouldn't give up" and let go of his toy on command, Jones suspended the dog from a railing.

Jones explained what the video showed. "His feet are on the ground, judge. This is his head."

Although the dog was not injured and trainers say this breed requires rough treatment, the video sparked outrage among animal lovers.

After testimony from Jones and several top brass officials with the Highway Patrol and animal trainers, state officials suspended the Highway Patrol's K9 program.

That status of the program has not been determined, but after more than a month, a judge says the trooper should get his job back.

State Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison reinstated Jones' sergeant status on the force with back pay and attorney's fees stating in court documents, "The petitioner did not receive a required meaningful pre-dismissal conference because the patrol's decision to carry out the Governor's decision to fire him had been made, released to the news media, and disseminated to all Patrol employees prior to such conference; nor did firing officials consider his contentions or confer after the conference prior to approving the firing."

Morrison's decision is not final and will be reviewed by the State Personnel Commission.


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