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McKeesport woman claims kennel owner assaulted her as retribution

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Thursday, March 20, 2014, 9:27 a.m.

A McKeesport woman claims in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that the city's animal control officer lured her to his kennels, pushed her down a flight of stairs and kicked her in the head, arms and ribs about 20 times to retaliate against her protest activities.

Mary Mechelli, 55, claims that Ken Ferree told her on Aug. 1 that he had her missing dog and he was going to shoot it if she didn't immediately claim it. Mechelli lobbied former Mayor James Brewster to replace Ferree Kennels as the city's dog catcher, and he did, the lawsuit says. She was also one of 20 people who protested outside the kennels in June after Mayor Michael Cherpko reinstated Ferree.

Ferree claimed that Mechelli had resisted arrest, but a district judge dismissed the charges Dec. 10, the lawsuit says. Ferree couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

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