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From Clever Hans To Harass II – Supernatural Crime Solving Goes To The Dogs

Posted in Podblack Cat by Skepdude on June 17, 2009


Just in from Orlando Sentinal! You can’t keep a shaggy dog story down… especially when it’s one that ends up having people put in jail unfairly – wha? Hang on?

News item from Central Florida, where apparently people were being convicted of violent crimes, based almost exclusively on the “testimony” of a police dog – because his owner claimed he had powers to spot criminals?

Last weekend, we looked at the case of Bill Dillon, the Brevard County resident imprisoned for 27 years before DNA tests set him free…

At least two other men suffered the same fate — and another shared link: a dog.

Not just any dog. A wonder dog helped convict all three men: a German shepherd named Harass II, who wowed juries with his amazing ability to place suspects at the scenes of crimes.

Harass could supposedly do things no other dog could: tracking scents months later and even across water, according to his handler, John Preston.

It all came to a conclusion when Judge Gilbert Goshorn requested a tracking test after a case where the dog supposedly discovered a scent at a scene six months after a murder. And the dog got a big FAIL.

I would suggest that people check out the marvellous blog of ICBS Everywhere where you can learn about Clever Dave, the not-so-mathematically-literate dog and the history of Clever Hans, the horse that also couldn’t actually do math:


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