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Animal cruelty charges spur calls for official's resignation in Washington County

This is the Washington County Courthhouse in Washington, Pa., on Thursday, Oct. 22.
Gene J. Puskar
This is the Washington County Courthhouse in Washington, Pa., on Thursday, Oct. 22.

Residents in a western Pennsylvania county are calling for the resignation of an official who is facing felony animal cruelty charges after authorities say her dog starved to death.

Washington County Controller April Sloane, 43, was arrested last week at her county office. North Strabane police filed the charges after a necropsy of her dog, Thor, showed the animal died of “severe emaciation” and weighed only 20 pounds, less than half of what its weight should have been.

According to court documents, Sloane’s 14-year-old son told police that he asked his mother to take Thor to a veterinarian, but she refused. Officials say an emergency veterinary clinic is located less than 500 feet from Sloane’s house.

Authorities allege the dog was neglected from Nov. 1 until its death on Nov. 27.

The dog’s body was found stuffed in a garbage bag in a back corner of Sloane’s garage as they served a search warrant at her home on Dec. 6, authorities said. She's facing two felony counts of aggravated cruelty and one count of neglect for withholding veterinary care.

Sloane was arraigned and released on a $150,000 unsecured bond. She has declined comment on the charges, and a telephone number for her could not be located Tuesday. No attorney was listed for her in online court records.

Sloane, a Republican, was elected to her post in November 2021. She had adopted Thor several months earlier and social media posts show she took him along on campaign stops and posed the dog atop her political yard signs ahead of the election.