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Police Chief charged with animal cruelty

Those who take an oath to uphold and defend the law are expected to do just that, but one police chief has some explaining to do after his severely underweight dog was removed from his home by animal control.

The dog, a Rottweiler named Etalia, was found in the basement of West Pike Run Township Police Chief Michael Hardesty twenty-five pounds underweight and living in her own filth.

The Washington Area Humane Society claims that the severity of the malnourished state of the dog put her in a "life or death" situation. They are shocked that such neglect has come at the hands of a police officer.

Hardesty is claiming that the dog ran away for a few days and that he did not abuse or neglect Etalia. He points out his other dog, another Rottweiler like Etalia, who is healthy as proof.

It's unsure who Hardesty is trying to fool; the court or himself. Dogs do not drop a full 1/3 of their weight in "a few days" nor should one in such shape be kept living in filth in a basement without veterinary care.

The charges have been filed and a hearing to be held soon will decide who gets custody of Etalia.

Meanwhile, the veterinary care for this sweet girl will be costly for the non-profit Humane Society. If you would like to help by donating to Etalia's care, call the Washington Area Humane Society in Eighty Four at 724-222-7387.

Pictures and video of Etalia here.

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M. Gwynn has authored two books, Harvest and The Cat Who Wanted to be a Reindeer on .

All articles by Michele Gwynn are under copyright and cannot be re-posted whole without written consent by the author. Partial re-posting with a link back to the original article is permitted. For consent, questions, or comments, email

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