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Bitten Westmoreland veterinarian sues animal shelter

A bite from an aggressive dog has led a veterinarian to take legal action against a New Kensington-area animal shelter.

According to a lawsuit filed this week in Westmoreland County, the dog set in motion a series of events that resulted in injuries to veterinarian, Becky Morrow of Arnold, who alleges that her reputation has been sullied by the animal shelter.

Morrow claims the dog bit her on the face and arm during a checkup on Oct. 11 at the request of Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley, which had been boarding the dog for several months.

In the four-count lawsuit, Morrow claims the shelter's president, Kathy S. Abraham, purposely misrepresented the biting incident in an attempt to cover up and obscure how Animal Protectors handled it.

Morrow is seeking an unspecified amount in damages from Abraham and the shelter.

Morrow contends that shelter workers were negligent because they did not tell her the dog was dangerous and aggressive, which did not alert the veterinarian to take necessary actions to prevent a biting incident.

According to the lawsuit, Morrow suffered a serious and permanent scar to her face and arm and sustained nerve damage and other potential injuries.

In the aftermath of the biting incident, Morrow claims that Abraham made statements both orally and via e-mails to other veterinarians that criticized her handling of the dog's care.

"Kathy S. Abraham's ... described statements were knowingly made with reckless indifference seeking to intentionally demean and defame Becky Morrow out of a personal dislike of Becky Morrow and not because of any alleged violations of any work policies or practices or inappropriate behavior of Becky Morrow but, on the contrary, were and have been intended to obscure and cover up all of the failings and deficiencies and negligent acts of Animal Protectors," according to the lawsuit.

Abraham could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

A woman who answered the telephone at the shelter identified herself as Sarah Yohe and said Animal Protectors would not comment on the lawsuit's allegations.

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