Man charged in dog shooting, deaths of 10 pits bulls in fire sparks probe

Pennsylvania State Police file a rare felony animal cruelty charge in the case of a German Shepherd who was shot in the head earlier this month. Jason Hockenberry, 29, of Fallentimber has been charged with a felony animal cruelty charge for allegedly shooting a German Shepherd last week, according to the Altoona Mirror.

Police say Hockenberry "willingly and maliciously" shot the animal in the head with a 9 mm pistol Jan. 3, Ebensburg State Trooper Bruce Bocci.In addition to the felony charge, he faces a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief for injuring the dog, Bocci said. The dog, now named Ezekial, was found cowering in the bushes of a church in Frugality shortly after New Year's by Tamira Thayne, founder of Dogs Deserve Better, an Altoona-based advocacy group that has focused on banning dog chaining.  "Quite frankly, I'm ecstatic," said Thayne. If Hockenberry is convicted police are seeking restitution for vet bills now totaling $700.


In Delaware County, firefighters in Sharon Hill are investigating a fire in a garage that killed 10 pit bulls. Firefighters arrived at the property yesterday morning to find the garge of the two story house engulfed in flames. It is not clear how many animals were inside the residence, but a state dog warden is investigating to see if the owner should have had a kennel license, according to the Delaware County Times.


There has been a rash of Cane Corso dumpings in Philadelphia.

My Daily News colleague Gloria Campisi writes last month that Philadelphia become the center of Cane Corso abandonment in the country. The reason, experts say, is that dog fighters think the large, muscular dogs will be stars in the fighting rings. But fighting is not in their make up. So when they don't perform they get dumped. The Pennsylvania SPCA reports is has seen many cases of neglect involving Cane Corsos and rescue groups say they are maxed out on space.