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Allegheny

Dog bites Pittsburgh police horse in Wilmerding; dog owners charged

| Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 1:51 p.m.
A mounted police patrol on Penn Avenue during Pittsburgh's First Night Celebration, downtown, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016.
A mounted police patrol on Penn Avenue during Pittsburgh's First Night Celebration, downtown, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016.

Allegheny County Police will withdraw some of the charges against two men whose dog attacked one of Pittsburgh's new police horses last week.

According to a news release and a criminal complaint, mounted police officers from Allegheny County and Pittsburgh's new unit were participating in a demonstration for a Citizen's Police Academy program in Wilmerding the evening of April 18. A dog that wasn't properly secured escaped a side yard along Middle Avenue and attacked Jack, one of Pittsburgh's police horses, as he rode up Airbrake Avenue.

The officer riding Jack tried to use pepper spray to get the dog off when it “latched on,” but it had little effect, according to the complaint. Two men managed to secure the dog by its leash and put it in the back of a police car; Jack was left with puncture wounds on all four of his legs.

A veterinarian examined and treated Jack for his injuries; police said he was suffering no long-term effects from the attack.

Police said David M. Osborne, 27, was taking care of the dog for Frederick K. Cook Jr., 62.

The complaint said the dog, which officers described as a brown brindle pit bull named Carmella, had to be quarantined in a kennel until its owners could verify with its veterinarian that it was up to date on its rabies vaccination. Officers were eventually able to determine that Cook had a license for the dog before he gave it to Osborne.

In the yard the dog escaped from before the attack, it had been tied with a four-foot leash to a stake that was easily pulled from the ground, and did not appear to have adequate water or shelter, the complaint said.

Cook and Osborne were both charged with felony aggravated assault and two counts of felony striking or injuring a police animal, along with summary charges of failing to secure their dog, failure to keep their dog under control, and harboring a dangerous dog.

Allegheny County spokeswoman Amie Downs said Allegheny County Police reviewed the charges and would be withdrawing some before the preliminary hearing, scheduled for May 3. Cook and Osborne were both arraigned Wednesday and placed on $1,000 unsecured bonds.

Downs said that the dog would be returned to them with the condition they provide it with adequate food, water and shelter, and they must keep up its licensing and vaccinations.

Pittsburgh has been re-assembling a six-horse mounted unit that could start patrolling Downtown and special events as early as May.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, msantoni@tribweb.com or via Twitter @msantoni.

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