Man claims he was falsely accused because of dog

HOUSTON—Imagine spending nine months in the Harris County Jail for a crime you didn’t commit, all the while knowing that what put you there wasn’t testimony or evidence presented by a human, but by a dog. Ronald Curtis says that’s exactly what happened to him.

“It was at a point in my life when I was trying to get my life together, and then I get arrested for something I didn’t do,” Curtis said.

Curtis’s rap sheet dates back to the mid-80s and includes car theft, as well as drug convictions. But Curtis said that he was arrested for a string of burglaries he didn’t commit after he agreed to submit to a dog scent lineup.

“So two weeks later, after he took the scent, they put an arrest warrant out for me based on the fact that the dog supposedly found my scent in these buildings,” said Curtis.

He said that the crimes took place in June 2007, but he wasn’t arrested until August of that year.

“The scents were not collected at the time of the crime,” Curtis said. “He went back to the crime scene over 100 days later and collected these things.”

He, according to Curtis, was Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Deputy Keith Pikett.

Pikett uses his own dogs to match smells from evidence to swabs of skin cell samples taken from suspects. It is something that the Innocence Project of Texas recently called junk science.

“I hate to even call it science because what’s being practiced right now in Texas is just junk,” said Jeff Blackburn of the Innocence Project.

Pikett, who already has two lawsuits pending, has been advised not to talk to the media.

As for Curtis, the charges against him were eventually dismissed, and he attributes his release to surveillance photos from the crime scene. Whether he will become the third person to sue has yet to be determined.

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