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Judge Rules 'No Dog' in Courtroom for Dangerous Dog Trial - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Judge Rules 'No Dog' in Courtroom for Dangerous Dog Trial

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One of the defendants in a high-profile case in Waynesboro will not be allowed in the courtroom. The judge's ruling Wednesday: "no dog."

This sets the stage for next month's trial, where a jury will decide whether a city councilman's canine is dangerous.

It's been nearly a year since then-Mayor Frank Lucente was charged with owning a dangerous animal.

Luke, his 7-year-old golden retriever, bit a man who was walking down the street in front of Lucente's home.

Wednesday the prosecutor likened the ensuing court battle to a murder case.

Last June a Waynesboro District Court judge ruled that Luke is dangerous, but Lucente has appealed, and a jury will have the final say.

On Wednesday, prosecutor Jim Camblos made a preemptive motion to keep the dog from appearing in court - and the judge agreed.

In addition, all photographs of the canine must get the court's approval before trial.

Between now and then, the judge will also rule on whether the jury should be told what happens to a dangerous dog.

The city's animal control officer testified that most people wrongly believe that such a dog is destroyed. The reality, as Lucente learned last summer, is that such canines must be muzzled whenever they're outside and their owners are required to buy signs and extra insurance.   

A Waynesboro jury will hear the appeal case on May 9.  

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