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Article published September 24, 2013
Bark lands Cranberry man in doghouse
CRANBERRY TWP — A township man is really in the doghouse with police. James Paul Andrews, 26, was arrested for allegedly barking at a police dog on four-legged duty last week during a sobriety checkpoint detail. It turned out to be a ruff night for Andrews. Instead of misdemeanor drunken driving, he faces a more serious charge — taunting a police animal. That charge is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison, a fine of up to $15,000, or both. “He was barking at Chaos and getting (the dog) agitated,” Cranberry Township police Sgt. Chuck Mascellino said of Andrews. Chaos is the specially-trained canine of the Evans City Police Department. But the 7-year-old German shepherd is often called in to assist other departments, such as to track suspects on the run or to sniff out drugs. The dog was one of the officers working the Butler County DUI Task Force’s checkpoint during the weekend of Sept. 14-15 on Route 19 in Cranberry. Andrews came through the checkpoint at 2:40 a.m. Sept. 15, and was stopped. Mascellino said he showed signs of being under the influence. Andrews later refused to submit to a blood test and was arrested for DUI. He also got a ticket for driving without a license. While police were getting his information, Andrews noticed Chaos nearby. The dog, accompanied by its handler, Evans City police Sgt. Don Myers, was in a down position and relaxed. Andrews told Myers he didn’t like the dog being there. Later, he tried to stare down Chaos. “He then started barking, hissing and growling at the dog,” Myers said. Chaos, keyed up, began barking back. “I don’t know why (Andrews) did it, but you can’t taunt a police dog,” Mascellino said. According to the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, it is “unlawful for any person to willfully or maliciously taunt, torment, tease, beat, kick or strike a police animal.” A preliminary hearing for Andrews was not immediately scheduled. He could not be reached for comment.