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Former Washington County police chief not guilty of animal cruelty charges

| Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 2:42 p.m.

A former Washington County police chief was found not guilty on Tuesday of animal cruelty charges.

District Judge Larry Hopkins determined West Pike Run police Chief Michael Hardesty, who was fired from his job Monday, did not intentionally mistreat his 1 12 year-old Rottweiler, Etalia, Hardesty's attorney Raymond P. Amatangelo said.

“There's no question there was neglect,” Amatangelo said. “The dog was thin and emaciated, but it wasn't malicious.”

The Humane Society received a complaint about Etalia's condition on Feb. 18 and removed the animal the following day when an official visited Hardesty's residence in North Bethlehem. The animal was confined in Hardesty's basement without water, food or bedding.

Township supervisors suspended Hardesty without pay following the charges and fired him for conduct unbecoming a police officer and failure to do his duties, said Erin Sakalik, township manager.

Hardesty did not return calls seeking comment.

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