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Sunday, Nov 26, 2006County: Chester
Disposition: Not Charged
Abuser names unreleased
Case Updates: 2 update(s) available
When Nelo, the drug-sniffing German shepherd, was accidentally killed by a hunter, public response flooded the Police Department that owned the dog.
Brandywine Regional Police Chief Mark D. Kocsi said 90 percent of the calls and e-mails - too numerous to count - have expressed condolences. Others have run the gamut from generous offers to replace the $7,200 dog to outrage over his death at the hands of a man who apparently mistook Nelo for a coyote.
On Monday, the Police Department will have a memorial service for Nelo - at a Baptist church. And there is even a place where folks can donate to a memorial fund.
"I never anticipated the magnitude of the response," Kocsi said yesterday. "This is amazing; it has taken on a life of its own."
Kocsi said the East Brandywine Baptist Church in Downingtown was selected for the service because of its positive history with the 17-member department.
"I really don't know what to expect," Kocsi said. "The church can only hold three to four hundred people."
Kocsi said the dog's handler, Officer Denise Knoke, helped plan the short service, which will include tributes, a bagpiper and a K-9 procession.
The department - totally unfamiliar with the intricacies of a dog memorial - received invaluable help from the Internet, Kocsi said.
"It's unbelievable what you can find when you type 'canine poems' on Google," he said.
Coping with the emotional toll on the department has been a much tougher challenge, Kocsi said, especially for Knoke.
"She's taken this pretty hard," Kocsi said.
He explained that Knoke, a former veterinary assistant and avowed animal lover, had been in training with Nelo for several months before Nelo joined the department last month. Nelo also lived with the officer.
Kocsi said Nelo, who was on a leash, bolted from Knoke during a walk on Nov. 26 after being startled by a firecracker. The dog was found dead last Wednesday.
District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll said the investigation into Nelo's death had not been completed. He said a hunter, whom he did not identify, admitted shooting Nelo on the West Caln Township property where the 16-month-old German shepherd was found.
Despite being on the street for only three weeks, Nelo made friends quickly, Kocsi said.
"He had a lot of energy and was very approachable," Kocsi said. "He was an absolutely gorgeous dog."
Kocsi said it was too early "after this tragedy" to determine whether the department would consider replacing Nelo, who was insured only for liability.
The department set up a memorial fund because "people insisted on sending money regardless of what we told them," Kocsi said.
He said that if the department decided not to add a K-9 officer, the money would be donated to an animal shelter.
In the meantime, Knoke has received permission to keep Nelo's ashes.
|A Chester County man who mistook a beloved police dog for a coyote and fatally shot it in November was charged Friday with damage to property.|
If found guilty of the summary offense, Dennis Frederick Herr of Glenmoore will have to pay damages estimated at more than $12,000, said Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll.
The nearly four-month investigation included a reenactment of the events that led to the Nov. 27 shooting of the Brandywine Regional Police Department drug-sniffing dog, Nelo, Carroll said in a news release.
The discovery of Nelo's body on Nov. 29 ended a three-day search for the 16-month-old German shepherd. The news prompted a flood of condolence calls and e-mails, ranging from offers to replace the dog to outrage over his demise.
Herr told police he was hunting with his son on wooded property he owns in West Caln Township when he saw what appeared to be a coyote and fired a shot from a tree stand with his Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun. Herr said he later realized he shot a dog, but did not see Nelo's police badge and left the area to assist his son with a deer, Carroll said.
The shooting occurred about eight hours after Nelo had been spooked by fireworks and bolted from his handler, and before any public notice that he was missing, Carroll said.
The reenactment, conducted by Wildlife Conservation Officer Scott Frederick, was held on Herr's property under the same conditions that existed on the day of the shooting.
Carroll said he rejected a more serious charge, cruelty to animals, because it required proof "that at the time he shot, Mr. Herr knew [not should have known] he was shooting a dog."
In December, Nelo was memorialized at a church service that included a K-9 procession, eulogies and a bagpiper.
Brandywine Regional Police Chief Mark D. Kocsi said his department was grateful for the closure.
"That's the important thing right now," he said. "We're still in the healing process."
|Source: Philly.Com - March 25, 2007|
Update posted on Mar 27, 2007 - 5:30AM
|A Chester County man who shot and killed a beloved police dog will not face animal cruelty charges.|
An investigation determined that the shooter, Dennis Herr, would not have been able to see the badge, leash or anything else that would have distinguished the K-9 -- Nelo -- from a coyote.
Herr told police he thought he was shooting at a coyote on property he owns in West Caln Township back in November.
The 16-month-old dog ran off after being frightened off by fireworks on November 26 and was found in a wooded area several days later.
|Source: CBS - March 23, 2007|
Update posted on Mar 24, 2007 - 12:23AM
- Philly.Com - Dec 6, 2006
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