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Police arrest suspect in dog mutilation case

South District police have made an arrest in a disturbing dog mutilation case and are seeking help from the public in another animal cruelty crime.

Robert Doherty, 41, of South Pontiac Street, recently was charged with animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, in connection with the killing of a dog last Nov. 27, police said.

A mixed-breed dog that belonged to someone in Doherty's family was killed and mutilated with a knife near South Pierce Street, along the banks of the Buffalo River, District Police Chief James P. Shea said Tuesday.

"[Doherty] told our officers that he was walking along the river with the dog. He said a monster jumped out of the water. He claimed that, while he was fighting with the monster, the dog got stabbed," Shea said.

Doherty's case is pending in City Court. Shea said a judge has ordered a full mental evaluation of the defendant.

Shea credited Officers Robert Heidinger, Kevin Kennedy and David Acosta for making the arrest.

In an unrelated case, Shea said police are making progress in a Dec. 17 animal cruelty case that outraged residents of the Valley neighborhood.

Investigators are pursuing "a strong lead" in connection with the killing of a Jack Russell terrier named Max that was killed by hanging it from a tree off Smith Street near South Park Avenue.

A teenage boy who lives in the area is sought for questioning in that incident, Shea said. Police believe the dog was stolen from its owner in Lackawanna.

"If this juvenile, or anyone who knows him, comes forward with information, it might be best for everyone," the police supervisor said. "We're asking that anyone with information about this case call our district office at 851-4415."

Shea said he believes the two crimes are isolated incidents, but he said they have upset officers and residents of the Valley.


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