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Trust Me, I'm an Expert: Smothering by Labrador Retriever

As I have begun to chronicle in my ongoing "Trust Me, I'm an Expert" series of posts, courts have not hesitated to deem people experts in fields such as "smell" and "lap dancing." On the other hand, courts have refused to accept proposed experts in the field of "shit"  and "pimping." Now, I've learned that in a criminal trial where the defendant is alleged to have strangled his wife, but contends that it wasn't he who caused her death but a canine, the court may allow the prosecution to present expert testimony on the possibility of smothering-by-dog.

Specifically, a 50-year-old man is on trial in Germany for manslaughter after his wife was found strangled to death in their bathroom. According to The Local, the defendant says he and his wife drank heavily the night of her death, and that at one point she fell over in the bathroom and he could not lift her. The defendant claims that he provided his wife with a pillow and a blanket, went to bed, and later awoke to find her dead -- smothered by their 75-pound Labrador Retriever, he speculates. 

The man's lawyer argued that, since it is known that dogs sometimes accidentally smother their own puppies by rolling on top of them, this could be the cause of the woman's death. That prompted the prosecution to provide testimony from Hans-Hermann Sangen, an expert from the "Labrador club in Velbert," who said this theory was not plausible. The court allowed Sangen to testify that, while newborn babies might be accidentally smothered by a Labrador Retriever if they snuggled up to them, adults could not be smothered by Labs. 

This seems to me like the type of testimony that might be better coming from a medical doctor, not someone from the local Labrador club, but that is probably why I am only a fake judge and not a real judge.

Posted by Bruce Carton on January 25, 2012 at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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