A member of Orange County’s committee on dog tethering has resigned in the wake of an Indy investigation questioning her residency and her ties to dog fighting.

A longtime breeder of pit bulls who, according to court documents, lives in Pennsylvania, Alane Koki submitted her resignation Monday, an hour before a public hearing about the practice of chaining or tying dogs drew about 50 people.

“The story of unfounded allegations published in the Independent Weekly has elicited a series of death threats to myself and family,” Koki wrote to county officials. “I have been advised to relinquish my seat on the committee to ensure my safety.”

Koki applied to serve as the committee’s animal health/wellness expert in October 2006, listing a Hillsborough address, her zoology degrees and her profession as a medical researcher but omitting her long history as a pit bull breeder in Missouri and Pennsylvania. Court records show Koki was residing in her Mohrsville, Pa., home as of mid-December, when she petitioned the court to allow her to remain there, in part because she had nowhere else to house her 30 dogs.

The April 11 article detailed Koki’s ties to dog fighting, including a recorded phone call between her and a federal defendant in Wisconsin (see “Member of Orange County’s chained-dog study panel has ties to dog-fighting”). It also chronicled her ties to Tom Garner, a Hillsborough breeder who has been convicted of dog fighting. Garner, who also applied but was not appointed to a seat on the citizens’ committee, breeds pit bulls whose bloodlines show up in Koki’s dogs’ genealogy dating back at least seven years. Though he denied knowing her prior to her service on the committee, a 2003 issue of his dog-fighting magazine, The Journal, featured a picture of Koki and gory details of fights involving dogs from her Thundermaker Bulldogs kennel.