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Lower Burrell man admits killing dog

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Gregory Novick Jr.
Thursday, March 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Lower Burrell man pleaded guilty Wednesday to chopping off the head of his grandmother's dog last year.

Greg Novick Jr., 25, was sentenced to serve up to 23 months in jail, but could be released immediately once he can find a place to live.

Westmoreland County Judge John Blahovec rejected an effort by Novick to move in with his grandmother.

“I'm really reluctant to approve your release to live with your grandmother without some sort of treatment. It just makes me nervous,” Blahovec said.

Novick was arrested in February 2012 and charged with cruelty to animals and trespassing for the incident at his grandmother's home.

Police said Novick lured the dog into the kitchen where he used a hatchet to kill the animal.

His grandmother, Dolores Novick, told police her grandson admitted he put the dog in a burn barrel and that she found the decapitated pet the next morning by following foot prints in the snow.

In court Wednesday, Gregory Novick said the dog previously threatened his grandmother.

“The dog was biting her on several occasions so we got rid of the dog,” Novick said.

Novick said he wanted to live with his grandmother upon his release from jail, but assistant District Attorney Judy Petrush said the plea bargain that was offered and eventually accepted had to include a provision that barred him from having any contact with his grandmother's home.

Novick has already served a year in jail and is now eligible for parole.

Blahovec said Novick can be released as soon as he finds a place to live.

In addition to the jail time, Novick was ordered to serve five years on probation.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or

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