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May 23, 2013

Pit bull heroin case defendant indicted on cruelty, drug charges

The 27-year-old Gloucester man charged with gutting his pet pit bull after the dog ingested heroin, will stand trial in front of a Salem Superior Court judge, after his case was moved from Gloucester District Court to the higher court today.

While John “Jack” Dugan’s arraignment has yet to be scheduled, a grand jury indicted him on four counts of animal cruelty and one count of heroin possession with intent to distribute.

The three additional counts of animal cruelty and the heroin charge resulted from an investigation that has been ongoing since his initial arrest in the first week of December, Carrie Kimball Monahan said Thursday, speakng for the office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan Bliodgett.

“There were some other acts involving Xena, the dog that died, and then there was one act on the other dog,” Monahan said. “That will all be explained in the arraignment.”

People following the case had frequently questioned why Dugan had not initially been charged with heroin possession, when he faced just a single count of animal cruelty in Gloucester District Court.

Dugan had admitted to police that Xena ingested heroin, which had been left on a countertop in his Prospect Street apartment. He told police he had later cut the dog open because she bloated after overdosing, but a veterinarian whom police consulted said that claim was not plausible.

Dugan remains held in Middleton Jail on $50,000 bail as he awaits arraignment. Though he was released from jail in late January, a March incident during which police discovered Dugan in a Captain’s Lodge motel room with drugs and alcohol led to his rearrest for breaking the terms of his probation, which called for him to remain sober of alcohol and illegal drugs.

For much more on this story, look to tomorrow’s print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com. For text updates regarding this story and other local Breaking News coverage, just sign up for the Times’ free text-alert service on the gloucestertimes.com homepage. For more up to date coverage, follow the Times news team on Facebook or on Twitter.com @gdtnews.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at mnesin@gloucestertimes.com.

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