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By Laurel J. Sweet
Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A German shepherd employed by the Essex County Sheriff's Department to keep inmates in line executed a daring escape from his handler's home Thursday night, only to be found hours later among the doglegs at the Beverly Golf and Tennis Club.
Club general manager Jane Ash arrived at work Friday morning to find Urek "hanging around the veranda" and teed off staffers sitting and staying indoors.
"He was a pretty ominous-looking character," Ash said. "I assume he had tags, but no one wanted to get close enough to look."
No one was hurt by the fugitive fido, but Urek, who is trained to attack on command, and K-9 officer Sgt. Mark O'Brien are "at the moment, at least," no longer partners, said Paul Fleming, spokesman for Sheriff Frank Cousins Jr.
"There's an investigation going on into how the dog broke out," Fleming said.
Once O'Brien, 36, discovered the restless Urek missing, Fleming said area police were notified. The sheriff's department located the dog at the golf course less than a mile from his home.
Meanwhile, another employee of Cousins', John Bachta, 37, of Methuen, was ordered to enter a 30-day drug treatment program and surrender his firearms yesterday after pleading not guilty to heroin possession.
Bachta was busted Saturday in a sting by state police assigned to Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr.'s office, but Leone's spokesman Corey Welford stressed yesterday, "We have no evidence that he was using his position in any way to purchase the drugs."
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