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City will pay vet bills for Targa

October 30, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- The city has confirmed it will pay veterinary bills for a dog shot by a police officer two weeks ago.

Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith said he met with Mary Gesford, whose family owned the dog, on Thursday to go over the payment plan.

The city will pay close to $7,600 to cover the medical care and cremation costs the Gesfords spent on their dog, Targa, a 6-year-old black Lab.

The money will go directly to the veterinary offices, Smith said.

Officer Jesse Duffey shot Targa in the larynx while he and another officer were trying to serve a warrant in the 500 block of North Mulberry Street on Oct. 15.

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Targa survived the shooting, but the Gesfords had to have the dog euthanized six days later.

Targa lunged at Duffey, who was cornered, Smith and Mary Gesford have said.

Smith has said Duffey reasonably defended himself, but Mary Gesford previously said the officer could have used a nonlethal method, such as a baton or pepper spray, to fend off the dog.

She said Friday she's optimistic the police department will examine other ways it can handle aggressive dogs.

Gesford said she was impressed Smith met with her and apologized that she lost their dog. She expressed her condolences to Smith, who had to have his own dog euthanized at around the same time Targa was shot.

She hoped Duffey one day would meet with her family, which she said would help her children recover from the difficulty of losing their dog.

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