The bail tying John Dugan, the 29-year-old previously accused of slaying his pet pit bull after the dog ingested heroin, to a jail cell was dropped from $25,000 to $4,000 during a Tuesday bail hearing.
But the Gloucester man remained behind bars in Middleton Jail early Tuesday night.
Among the factors considered by Superior Court Judge David Lowy in setting the new bail, was the consideration that two of four animal cruelty counts against Dugan had been dismissed in recent court proceedings.
Though Dugan’s defense attorney, John Morris, had motioned for the court to dismiss all the charges against Dugan, Judge Timothy Q. Feeley dismissed two counts without prejudice, and left standing the remaining two counts and a charge of heroin possession.
If Dugan is bailed from jail, however, he is prohibited from using drugs or drinking alcohol and required to submit to random drug and alcohol screens. Another condition would require him to attend five alcoholics anonymous and/or narcotics anonymous meetings each week.
When Dugan last met the terms of his then-$20,000 bail in January, he stayed out of jail for a little over a month before an incident at the Captain’s Lodge Motor Inn landed him back behind bars.
While out of jail on probation, Dugan had come within days of graduating from a Discover drug treatment program at Addison Gilbert Hospital. But, when he missed a mandatory drug program class, his probation officer notified police. Police found him in the hotel room with a handmade device he admitted he had planned to use in falsifying drug tests.
At the time, Dugan told police he had relapsed after a contentious court hearing, and had “snorted” Percocet pills and consumed a bottle of whiskey. Dugan also told police at that time that he had been smoking marijuana since leaving the courthouse.
A judge found that he had violated the terms of his probation that prohibited drug and alcohol use and placed Dugan back in jail. At that point, the man who had initially posted the $20,000 bail — Dugan’s stepfather, Eugene C. Tessicini — withdrew it.
At that time, Dugan’s probation had included similar conditions to the current bail conditions, but with the added condition that he was prohibited from keeping small animals.
On Jan. 22, Dugan will face trial on the remaining charges of heroin possession and of two counts of animal cruelty pertaining to multiple incidents of him allegedly using a closed fist to hit the later slain dog and another pet pit bull on their faces and bodies.
The two counts of animal cruelty charges relating to the gutted pit bull Xena’s death were dismissed.
Police had discovered the pit bull’s corpse discarded near the Sadler Street extension in early December.
Around the time of Dugan’s arrest, they had spoken to Dugan’s ex-girlfriend and co-owner of the dogs. She told police about Dugan allegedly hitting the dogs, leading to the added counts of animal cruelty. That witness has since recanted all of her statements to police.
If convicted on an animal cruelty charge, Dugan could face a state prison sentence of no more than five years, or a term in a house of correction for up to 21/2 years. He could also face a fine of up to $2,500 on each count, or a combination of fine and jail time.
The charge of possession with intent to distribute carries a potential sentence of 10 years or fewer in jail or 21/2 years in a house of correction. That term can also be combined with a fine of anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000.
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.