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Owner of pit bull shot by Harrison officer fined for lacking vaccination

| Friday, March 28, 2014, 2:15 p.m.

The owner of a pit bull shot by a Harrison police officer was fined on Thursday for not having the dog vaccinated against rabies.

District Judge Carolyn Bengel ordered Tracy Slee, 40, of 8 Blue Ridge Ave. to pay a $300 fine and $71 in court costs when she was found guilty.

The 2-year-old dog, named Khaos, was shot by the Harrison police officer, who said the dog attacked him when he stopped to investigate a report of a dog running free in the township's Natrona neighborhood on March 16. Khaos survived the gunshots but was euthanized by a Monroeville veterinarian who said the dog was in pain and suffering.

Harrison police have not identified the officer who shot the dog.

The charge that Slee confronted on Thursday was from an incident that took place on Dec. 4.

J.J. Loughner, an animal control officer for Hoffman's Animal Control, testified that he had gone to Natrona that day for a report about a Rottweiler running loose in the neighborhood. He said he spoke with Slee, who identified the Rottweiler's owner as her sister, when he spotted the pit bull inside Slee's home through a window.

Loughner said he asked her for documentation that the dog was licensed and vaccinated.

“She could provide nothing for me,” Loughner said.

Slee admitted to Bengel that Khaos had neither a license or vaccination.

Bengel told Slee that, if she had listened to Loughner, who told her to get the dog vaccinated, and had that done on Dec. 5, she could have taken that into consideration.

Gary Hoffman, owner of the animal control service, later said that the pit bull still was not licensed or vaccinated against rabies at the time it was shot.

He said the same charge has been filed against Slee for that incident. Bengel said that hearing has been set for May 22.

Christine Hensel, Slee's sister, was charged in the December incident and was found guilty through the Dog Law, which prohibits dogs from running free on the streets, in a separate hearing.

Bengel sentenced her to pay $500 and $71 in costs because Loughner testified that he found the dog running free in the neighborhood.

He said when he attempted to get control of the dog with a long capture pole, the dog ran away and then chased a young girl who had just gotten off a school bus. He said he took the dog's attention away from the girl and Slee was able to gain control of the dog.

Loughner said he was familiar with the dog from two previous incidents when it attacked people and had to be quarantined.

Hensel, who was not home when the December incident took place, was charged with not having her dog vaccinated. That charge was dismissed by Bengel when Hensel produced a tag showing that the dog had received the rabies vaccine.

Meanwhile, Slee and Hensel have called for the Harrison police officer who shot Khaos to be fired, claiming he overreacted.

Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or tyerace@tribweb.com.

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