During a recent preliminary hearing of a murder case in France, the presiding judge surprised those in attendance by calling for the testimony of the only one believed to have witnessed the crime — the victim’s nine-year-old labrador retriever, Tango.
The dog, along with an animal specialist, was ushered into the courtroom to face the person who stood accused in hopes that the pet might somehow indicate that they had the right man. The alleged murderer was then ordered to threaten the dog with the bat used in the murder to test the dog’s reaction.
For the sake of scientific accuracy, another dog of the same age and breed, named Norman, was brought in as a control subject — given the same treatment so the judge could compare how the two responded.
“So if Tango lifted his right paw, moved his mouth or his tail, is he recognizing my client or not?” quipped the suspect’s defense lawyer.
According to RTL radio, in the end the unusual experiment in a dog providing testimony proved inconclusive — but, interestingly, this actually isn’t the first time dogs have been called upon for their eyewitness knowledge.
As TheLocal.fr notes, just last month a Paris court ordered a veterinarian to test the reaction of a dalmatian who had witnessed the murder of its owner upon seeing photographs of the two men accused. In this case, the vet reportedly testified that the dog’s behavior suggested that they were probably the perpetrators.