The Crime of Barking
Officer Gary McNulty reports: "Victim was outside of the business with her service dog. The suspect was behind a pillar when the victim's service dog began to bark. The suspect pulled a knife and started to walk toward the dog. The victim heard her dog barking and looked to see what it was barking at. The victim did not [recognize the man walking] toward her dog.
"The victim observed the suspect holding a knife in his left hand. The suspect told the victim that he was going to cut the dog's throat, at which time the victim said it was her service dog and he, the suspect, would have to cut her throat first. The suspect said he would cut her throat also. The suspect continued to close in on the victim and her dog. The suspect got very close to the victim, within inches, still holding the knife.
"There was a customer in the store who heard a woman screaming and looked out to see a man right up in the victim's face. I asked this witness just how close the suspect was to the victim, and he told me that the suspect was right 'up in her bubble.'
"The victim told me that she felt as if she was going to be stabbed and managed to get to a phone... As Officer Schickler and I arrived on the scene, I could see that there was a female outside of the store with a dog, but no suspect. I got out of my car to approach the female—at which time the suspect [who had not left the scene!] came out from the area where he had been using a large pillar to conceal himself.
"The suspect was told to stop and to keep his hands out where we could see them. The suspect did not follow these commands and continued to close in on us. The suspect was less than 12 feet away when he reached for his left rear side. We were now yelling for the suspect not to reach for anything but to put his hands out where we could see them.
"Officer Schickler and I closed in on the suspect, and we each took an arm and began to walk him toward the front of my patrol car. The suspect tensed up and at first seemed like he was going to struggle. The suspect was finally walked to my patrol car and Officer Schickler removed a black knife sheath containing a black-handled knife from the suspect's left rear pants pocket."
Yes, the suspect was wrong to threaten the woman with a knife, but it's also important for dog lovers to appreciate the fact that many humans profoundly hate dog-barking. The very sound of it can grab a soul and shake all reason and sense of calm out of it. To you, the owner, the barking sounds like a little chitchat; to others, it is the last thing you want to hear "up in your bubble."