A Washington County police chief was cited this week for animal cruelty after humane society investigators last month found 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 of food, water, bedding and sanitary living conditions.
The 11/2-year-old dog named Etalia was found living in her own feces and had made herself a bed out of scraps of paper and an artificial Christmas tree, said Kelly Backo, general manager of the Washington Area Humane Society.
"It doesn't matter what your title is," Ms. Backo said. "And because of his title, he should have known better."
Chief Hardesty could not be reached Thursday.
Ms. Backo said a humane society officer went to check on the dog Feb. 18 at Chief Hardesty's home in North Bethlehem 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.
"She was so emaciated, her veins were collapsing in her legs," Ms. Backo said.
On a health scale, the dog ranked 2 out of 9 and also had an ear infection.
The dog was removed from the home Feb. 19, and her health is improving in foster care.
Chief Hardesty has 10 days to respond to the summons; he can either plead guilty or choose to contest the charge in court.
Magisterial District Judge Curtis Thompson could set a fine of up to $1,000, a court employee said.
Molly Born: email@example.com or 412-263-1944 or on Twitter @borntolede.