VALPARAISO — A 26-year-old Portage man will no longer be allowed to have his dog in court with him when he stands trial in a couple of weeks on misdemeanor charges of failing to cooperate with police.
Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer, who described himself as a dog lover, said Tuesday morning he was presented with no evidence that the animal in question is a certified service dog or was trained by a certified individual.
"We're going to have public buildings filled with dogs," the judge said, referring to the potential if he grants the request.
Ryan Crum, who goes to trial Jan. 27 on misdemeanor charges of resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct, had asked the judge to reconsider a September ruling prohibiting him from continuing to bring his dog inside the county courthouse.
His dog had been alongside him in July 2018 when he was found guilty on felony counts of resisting law enforcement and battery, and a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct in a case that involved the same animal.
Defense attorney Russell Brown Jr. told the court Tuesday morning that Crum trains his own dogs to assist him with the effects of his PTSD and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
There is nothing in the definition of a service animal that requires certified training, which is beneficial because not everyone has the large amount of money that would require, Brown said.
Porter County Deputy Prosecutor John Norris, who opposed Crum's request, said allowing any animal to be labeled a service animal would be a disservice to those who are qualified.
"They are a tremendous asset to us," he said.
Clymer said he found no basis for a service dog in Crum's medical history and no evidence that his dog was trained for service work by a certified individual.
He cited the lack of state law on the matter and pointed out that airlines have requirements for service animals in place.
Crum faces misdemeanor counts of resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct based on allegations of resisting arrest and yelling at officers at his home on Oct. 12, 2017.
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