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Posted at 1:05 AM ET, 06/30/2010

Lynda Carter wins doggone barking battle

By The Reliable Source

Lynda Carter and husband Robert Altman, December 4, 2005, in Washington, D.C. (Chris Greenberg/Getty Images)

Well, there goes the neighborhood block party.

You think everyone loves having a star next door? Think again. Longtime Potomac resident Lynda Carter (yes, Wonder Woman) was dragged into Montgomery County District Court on Tuesday by prosecutors claiming her dogs were disturbing the peace by barking. The actress (hair up, wheat suit, pearl earrings) showed up with her husband, lawyer Robert Altman.

The county's primary witness was Chrissellene Petropoulos, a vocal coach who lives across the street from Carter and Altman. Petropoulos testified that the couple allowed two dogs --"the main barker," she said, and a second pooch -- to woof at cars, passersby and even another neighbor's swans (swans!) for three hours on a Saturday afternoon in February. Petropoulos said that this was an ongoing problem and that the barking disturbed students taking lessons in her home.

There was clearly a lot of history here: Petropoulos admitted that the police had previously warned her not to harass Carter and Altman.

Dogs being dogs, the legal question centered on whether owners could have/should have prevented the barking that winter afternoon, and whether the noise could be considered a public nuisance based on a single complaint. After the prosecution rested, Judge Brian Kim ruled that there was insufficient evidence to proceed and found in Carter and Altman's favor without having them testify or making a single "his bark is worse than his bite" joke.

The high-profile couple wasn't eager to talk about the dispute after the trial -- except to clarify one point. "We only have one dog," said Altman. "That's all we have to say." The Lab's name, he said, is Jackson.

"I actually do have another dog -- she's 14 years old and about this big," added Carter, holding her arms a foot apart. "She doesn't go outside."

Is this the last of the dog fight? We'll keep our noses to the ground.

By The Reliable Source  | June 30, 2010; 1:05 AM ET
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so. they have two dogs...

Posted by: slim4 | June 30, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Evidently in Potomac, if you were in some god awful, third rate TV show neighbors aren't allowed to complain when your dogs are a nuisance.

Posted by: checkered1 | June 30, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I'd rather hear the dogs barking than the students caterwauling.

Posted by: kbockl | June 30, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Linda Carter should have put on her Wonder Woman outfit and kick her neighbor's but.

Get us out of danger Wonder Woman!

Posted by: Special_One40 | June 30, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Lynda Carter is such a gorgeous summanahubba.

Posted by: cbmuzik | June 30, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Having had an issue with a neighbor's barking yappy dog who does not want to be outside, I can understand how this neighbor feels. It's annoying. When I stepped out onto my deck, the dog barks. When I pull into my driveway, the dog was running into my yard barking. I could not enjoy time outside nor could I have my windows open because of their dog. So I called Animal Control who sent out a squad car. Problem solved.

By the way, once again, celebrity prevails ...

Posted by: gitouttahere | June 30, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Lynda Carter is a good looking woman, but her show WONDER WOMAN was a dog.

Posted by: gmuhokie2009 | June 30, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

There is a dog law in Montgomery County and it's for all dogs and all dog owners. All you need are a couple of witnesses (a video tape also helps) and a deposition filled out and notarized. Haul them into court a couple of times, they will get the message. I don't care if she is Wonder Woman, she still puts her paints on the same way we all do .... one leg at a time.

Posted by: reesemichael | June 30, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

There is a dog law in Montgomery County and it's for all dogs and all dog owners. All you need are a couple of witnesses (a video tape also helps) and a deposition filled out and notarized. Haul them into court a couple of times, they will get the message. I don't care if she is Wonder Woman, she still puts her paints on the same way we all do .... one leg at a time.

Posted by: reesemichael | June 30, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Barking is what dogs do.

Posted by: ceefer66 | June 30, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Lynda is still the hottest woman on the planet.

I'd rather have dogs next door than students.

Posted by: trudy41 | June 30, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to be Lynda Carter's neighbor!

Posted by: aspe4 | June 30, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Washingtonians must be the most desperate people on the planet. First there was the nebbish budget director made into a sex symbol; now this botox-avellian and her TWO barking dogs. Dam*, they even lied about the number of dogs they have. Who does that? As for her good looks, she looks like she came straight from South Fork--"Dallas."

Now comes Kagan--more politically savvy than smart, brave or other qualities that would change her one-dimensional life.

Posted by: woof3 | June 30, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind dogs barking. But there is nothing more annoying than kids screaming.

Posted by: StLouis | June 30, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

That's too bad. Nobody takes responsibility for their own actions anymore, not even Wonder Woman. She ought to be ashamed of herself for setting such a bad example.

Posted by: observator1000 | June 30, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

With Kagan being a judge, the justice system has gone to the dogs!

Posted by: houston123 | June 30, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Yea, but did she use her lasso ?


Posted by: LaserLight | June 30, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

"That's too bad. Nobody takes responsibility for their own actions anymore, not even Wonder Woman. She ought to be ashamed of herself for setting such a bad example."
Posted by: observator1000

Well lets see, the neighbor claimed two dogs were barking, which seems incorrect (lie?). The woman also has a previous record of harassment. And now that neighbor has dragged them into court over 3 hours of dog barking on a single day.

My neighbor has two dogs, beagles. Have you ever heard two beagles bark for hours? Its painful since they have an "a-youuuu" bark. I don't like it, but I also don't haul my neighbor into court over such a silly thing. If anyone is setting a bad example it is a neighbor who hauls in another neighbor for so slight an offense.

Posted by: Fate1 | June 30, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Yea but did she use her lasso ?


Posted by: LaserLight | June 30, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

She used to save the World - now her second career is a socialite

Wasn't her husband involved in some scandal -

woof woof.


Posted by: LaserLight | June 30, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

We have annoying barking dogs in our neighborhood, but no one around here is nuts enough to try to make a criminal case of it. What did it cost the Altmans to have this case thrown out when the county prosecutor failed to meet the burden of proof, $5,000 or more?

The primary reason that this kind of legal harassment can happen is that Maryland is one of 3 or 4 states that did not adopt the unified court/judicial system when most other states enacted that system in the 1970s or earlier. The result is that Maryland has an archaic commissioner system where any citizen can walk in and swear out a criminal complaint without a police investigation, arrest, citation or police report. The reason that a garbage case like this went to trial was because the office of the State’s Attorney in its screening process for citizen complaints failed to exercise prosecutorial discretion in a sound manner. They in effect used the District Court as a high-cost screening procedure by taking this case to trial. At most, this case should have been diverted and settled in mediation. Failing that, it should have been dismissed at the supervisory level in the prosecutor’s office.

But instead the prosecutors aided, abetted and subsidized a litigious individual in harassing a neighbor. And they did it at taxpayer expense. Ms. Petropoulos, in effect, got free legal representation when the State’s Attorney accepted the case, instead of having to hire a lawyer to pursue her case in civil court. And a conviction in criminal court would have made a civil suit for money damages a slam dunk for Ms. Petropoulos.

Trials are expensive, even bench trials in the District Court. Most jurisdictions don’t have the funds for enough judges, courtrooms or prosecutors to take most of the criminal cases on the docket to trial. The result is plea bargaining the majority of cases to guilty pleas on lesser or fewer charges or with lighter sentences. This administrative model is useful. But if the State’s Attorney can waste resources on petty squabbles between neighbors, then perhaps they have too much time and money on their hands.

The frontline remedy for this waste of taxpayer money is the sound exercise of prosecutorial discretion at intake. The better remedy is legislation in the General Assembly to enact a unified court system, abolishing the commissioners and the citizen complaint procedure.

Posted by: cassandra9 | June 30, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Lynda Carter had the widest crotch on TV.
And now she has dogs. Will wonders never cease?

Posted by: barferio | June 30, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

This era dogs are used as passive-aggressive weapons: what bullets are to guns, barking is to dogs. Barking kills--a slow, painful death of a million bee stings. Communities should focus on the root cause of the conflict between barking dog and innocent human: the barking is the root cause. The source of the conflict is not the barking-sufferer's REACTION to barking, whatever that reaction may be. Chronic barking is molestation. It doesn't matter what the sufferer-of-barking does to try to get the barking to stop--they feel desperate because they don't get support from the outlying community to get the barking stopped. I'm not talking about partial-barking--I mean 100%-barking stopped. The barking-sufferer has a right to enjoy his or her patch of real estate unmolested by barking. The barker needs to get gone.

In a conflict between one person and a dog, the human should win out every time. Human rights trump dog rights. Who is it who pays the mortgage or rent? Not dogs. Why do we as society allow dogs to have more rights than people? Barking is a serious offense: barking makes people--literally--insane. Chronic barking causes the barking-sufferer to not be able to meet his obligations in paying the mortgage or rent and put food on the table. Narcissistic people, obtaining dogs, are clueless as to what it takes to truly care for a dog. Being the guardian of a dog is a lifelong commitment--it is similar as caring for a human infant. Leaving dog(s) in a yard unattended and unloved is a hazard to anyone who is not the owner and who is within earshot of the barking. A barker is a menace. A barker is a health hazard. A barker is an "ignored" dog--it's time we see chronic barking for what it is: ANIMAL NEGLECT. Things have to be done, by the community, on behalf of the barking-sufferer, in its laws, fines, punishments and jail-time.

Communities should give power to law enforcement to seize yard barkers without the dog owner's knowledge, impound the dog(s). Or 6 months in jail. Or a $1,000 fine. If I had my wish, impounded dog would be euthanized within 24 hours.

Dog-haters are made, not born. Residents become hostile after years of their communities having more sympathy for barkers than for barking-sufferers, communities who spit on human need for peace and quiet where they live. Having dogs growing up, I used to like dogs. No more. I now loathe dogs. Barkers are REALLY, REALLY bad public relations for dogs in general. Barking gives the whole canine species a bad name. Responsible dog owners should pressure "arrant dog owners who condone chronic barking" to STOP THE BARKING.

Dogs have no business around human dwelling areas. Dogs are "guests" and as such, must behave. If dogs don't behave, banish them. Dog be gone.

Mediation implies there is something to mediate, as if with chronic barking there is middle-ground or compromise. Sorry, but I'm not going to compromise my physical need for a safe and sane soundscape around my home. The dog leaves.

Posted by: Laurentis | June 30, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

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