West Pike Run police chief found not guilty of animal cruelty

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Suspended West Pike Run police Chief Michael Hardesty was found not guilty on animal cruelty charges today after being accused of mistreating his Rottweiler, Etalia.

Chief Hardesty was cited last month after a local animal control worker wrote in court documents that the chief's Rottweiler was underweight and lacked sanitary food, bedding and living conditions.

At a hearing before Magisterial District Judge Larry Hopkins this morning, Chief Hardesty was found not guilty of some of the nine charges and others were withdrawn, according to court docket sheets.

Chief Hardesty's attorney, Raymond Amatangelo, said the chief shared the dog with a woman and that he was rarely at home because he worked two jobs.

"There might have been some neglect," Mr. Amatangelo said, "but it wasn't cruel or malicious behavior."

Mr. Amatangelo said the chief, who was suspended without pay after the charges were filed, will notify the township that he will seek reinstatement.

He said a letter sent to the chief cited the charges as the main reason for his suspension and also made reference to some "minor issues dealing with some of his duties and interdepartmental operations."

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Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1438 and on Twitter: @LizNavratil. First Published April 9, 2013 4:45 AM


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