updated 4/22/2011 3:40:30 PM ET 2011-04-22T19:40:30

A Mason man charged with teasing a police dog by barking at it says the city ordinance he's accused of breaking violates his constitutional right to free speech.

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The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the attorney for 25-year-old Ryan James Stephens says his client was not striking the animal in suburban Mason. Lawyer Jim Hardin says barking may not be seen as intelligent speech but is "still speech." He questions the validity of a city law that bars taunting police dogs.

A police officer investigating a car crash at a pub on April 3 reported he heard the dog barking uncontrollably. The officer said he found Stephens making barking noises and hissing at a dog inside the police car.

The officer's report quoted Stephens as saying "the dog started it" and said the man appeared highly intoxicated.

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Video: Man charged with barking at police dog

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