Township supervisors in West Pike Run have suspended police Chief Michael Hardesty without pay following charges of animal cruelty.
Supervisor Rick Molish said today that after consulting with the township solicitor the board voted unanimously Monday to suspend the chief until further notice.
"Being that he was police chief, and he represents us, it's a black mark for us, for everybody involved," Mr. Molish said. "We're a local government -- we have a business to run."
Mr. Molish said they plan to review Mr. Hardesty's record and meet again with the solicitor to discuss the matter further and ensure "we're making the right decision."
The Washington County police chief was cited for animal cruelty after humane society investigators last month found that his dog was living in what they called "deplorable" conditions. He is accused of depriving his Rottweiler, Etalia, of food, water, bedding and sanitary living conditions.
The township was already interviewing candidates to expand its one-man police force, and on Monday night, also secured Ryan Wagner as a part-time officer.
Mr. Molish said Pennsylvania State Police have been made aware of the situation in the department and can help with coverage, if needed.
The 1 1/2-year-old dog was found confined to the basement and so emaciated the veins in her legs were collapsing, said Kelly Backo, general manager of the Washington Area Humane Society.
The dog was 58 pounds, but Rottweilers her age are usually about 85 or 90.
Etalia is in 24-hour foster care and will be fit for adoption after about three months of rehabilitation.
Molly Born: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede.