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The suggestion that an Edgewater jogger should be prosecuted for kicking a pesky poodle that was nipping at his heels is preposterous. The dog's owner should have had her beloved pet, Jacquelyn, on a leash. That's the law in Anne Arundel County.

The incident occurred last Thursday when Jacquelyn broke free from Janice Tippett as she was loading the dog into the car. The toy poodle ran into the street, yapping and snapping at the jogger, who twice kicked the dog. The poodle, weighing just 4 pounds, suffered temporary paralysis and was under veterinary care for four days.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is pressing the Anne Arundel County state's attorney, Frank R. Weathersbee, to charge the jogger under the state's animal cruelty laws. The group's barking up the wrong tree; the dog's owner is primarily at fault here. She too could be cited in the case.

If the jogger had tripped and fallen while trying to elude the poodle, and then sued, we would have chewed him out for that.

When the jogger discovered days later that he had injured the poodle - Ms. Tippett had leafleted her neighborhood with "wanted posters" - the runner rightly phoned the dog owner. He also called the police.

No one needs to end up in the doghouse over this mishap. Once Jacquelyn is back on her paws, PETA should offer to send her to canine charm school to brush up on her manners, even if she was instinctively trying to protect her turf. As for the jogger, he should carry a bottle of lemon water. A squirt or a spray can be off-putting to a pouncing pooch. And when all else fails - try a doggie treat.

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