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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The North Carolina Court of Appeals has upheld a judge’s ruling that ordered a state trooper who was fired for kicking his dog to be reinstated with back pay.

The court ruled Tuesday that Wake County Superior Court Judge James Hardin was correct when he determined two years ago that the Highway Patrol improperly fired Sgt. Charles Jones.

Jones was dismissed in 2007 on the orders of then-Gov. Mike Easley after video clips surfaced showing the trooper hoisting his canine partner off the ground and kicking him five times.

Hardin ruled that Jones’ actions were no worse than the Highway Patrol’s accepted methods of training dogs for police service.

A spokeswoman said the Department of Public Safety has not yet decided whether to appeal Tuesday’s ruling.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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