West Pike Run police chief Hardesty accused of abusing his Rottweiler

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A Washington County police chief was cited Wednesday for animal cruelty after humane society investigators found last month that his dog was living in what they called "deplorable" conditions.

Michael Hardesty, chief of the West Pike Run police department, is accused of depriving his Rottweiler, Etalia, of food, water, bedding and sanitary living conditions.

The 1 1/2-year-old dog was found living in her own feces and had made herself a bed out of scraps of paper and an artificial Christmas tree, Washington Area Humane Society general manager Kelly Backo said.

"It doesn't matter what your title is," Ms. Backo said. " ... And because of his title, he should have known better."

Chief Hardesty did not immediately return a message this morning.

Ms. Backo said a humane society police officer went to check on the dog Feb. 18 at Chief Hardesty's North Bethlehem home after the organization received a complaint the day before.

There, the officer discovered the dog confined to the basement and malnourished. Ms. Backo said the dog was 45 percent below her normal body weight -- she was 58 pounds, but Rottweilers her age are usually about 85 or 90.

On a health scale, the dog ranked 2 out of 9 and also suffered from an ear infection.

"She was so emaciated, her veins were collapsing in her legs," Ms. Backo said.

The dog was removed from the home Feb. 19, and her health is improving in 24-hour foster care.

Chief Hardesty has 10 days to respond to the summons, to which he can either plead guilty or choose to contest in court.

Magisterial District Judge Curtis Curtis Thompson could set a fine of up to $1,000, a court employee said.

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Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede.


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