California sues for return of police dog

August 15, 2013
Tracy Potemra-Hudak is shown with the California police canine officer, Argo, in this March 2010 photo.

California Borough is suing a former police officer in Washington County Court for the return on its canine officer, a dog she handled before resigning more than a year ago.

Borough solicitor Keith Melenyzer on July 18 filed the one-count lawsuit against Tracy Potemra-Hudak, asking a judge to order her to return the dog named Argo, which was purchased in early 2009 with a $4,500 federal grant, court records show.

California claims the 5-year-old German shepherd is borough property, having been appointed a police officer in June 2009, the lawsuit states.

The borough also is seeking the return of the dog’s property in Potemra-Hudak’s possession, including clothing she wore as its handler, dog fencing the borough installed at her residence and a radio.

Potemra-Hudak, who began working in the department and rose to the level of acting chief, resigned Dec. 14, under the terms of her worker’s compensation settlement, the lawsuit states.

She was directed Feb. 1 to return Argo to the department, according to the lawsuit served Wednesday.

Melenyzer could not be reached Thursday. Potemra-Hudak responded by email that she could not comment at this time, and she was waiting to speak to an attorney.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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