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Snappy police dog voted off Allegheny Township force

Allegheny Township's police dog will be getting his walking papers.

Supervisors on Monday night voted 3-0 to relieve police dog "Cezar" of his duties, effective immediately.

The action came on the recommendation of Solicitor Bernie Matthews Jr. after the dog bit a 9-year-old girl while off-duty. Matthews said the township has the right to decide what to do, though the incident was a "non-police event."

If a similar incident would occur, some might question "why the dog was still in service," according to Matthews.

Residents who spoke in favor of keeping the dog on duty included Mabel Mazza, who questioned if the action should be considered a bite, since the youngster's skin wasn't penetrated. Mazza asked supervisors to delay making a decision "until more research is done."

Supervisor Joseph Ferguson said the police report served as research.

Officials assured residents the dog wouldn't be destroyed. Officer Kerry Myers, the dog's handler, will have an option to buy the dog for $1. If Myers declines, officials believe there would be others waiting to buy the dog for $1.

Supervisors stressed this isn't the end of the township's police dog program. Township Manager Gregory Primm said further discussion will take place to continue the program.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger donated some of the money needed to acquire the police dog. Those funds have been spent, and a monthly stipend to feed the dog and pay veterinary bills came out of the general budget.

In other business

• Supervisors declined a request from the Municipal Authority of Allegheny Township to change the rate structure of water bills. The measure would have lowered bills for residents and businesses by $1.44 per month, but supervisors want to find out how neighboring authorities structure their bills, and they want to prevent residential and commercial customers from subsidizing high-use facilities, such as a car wash.

The motion by Chairwoman Kathy Starr died due to lack of a second.

• Supervisors voted to rezone three lots on Route 356 from commercial to residential.

The move will allow property owners Karol John and Elizabeth Kovach to transform the vacated Flamingo Lounge to a more aesthetically pleasing residential garage.

The adjacent residential area was expanded so spot zoning, which is illegal, wasn't employed by the township,.

• A $191,600 contract was awarded to Russell Standard for liquid asphalt this summer.

Hansen Aggregates was awarded a contract for eight varieties of limestone products ranging from $14.79 per ton to $22.44 per ton.

Keystone Concrete Products was awarded a $16,800 contract for bridge panels for the Copeland Road bridge.

Public works director Steve Kanas said work won't be done on the bridge until the school year is finished.

• Supervisors appointed George Katona and Bob Hunt to fill the vacancies on the planning commission.

• Allegheny Township residents can get the latest police and emergency news by registering for Nixle, a new communications service.

Residents can log on to www.nixle.com and get direct news from the police department via e-mail and text messages. The service is free, but carrier fees may apply for text messages.

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