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July 12, 2013

Pit bull heroin hearing now set for Aug. 29

Those awaiting a punishment to be handed the Gloucester man accused of gutting his pet pit bull after the dog ingested heroin will have to sit and wait at least another month.

John “Jack” Dugan, 27, remains in custody at Middleton Jail until his next court date, when the judge will now hear his attorney’s motion to dismiss the case on Aug. 29.

Dugan made a brief appearance in Salem Superior Court Wednesday before his lawyer, John Morris, and a prosecutor quietly chose the new court date.

Dugan faces four counts of animal cruelty and a charge of heroin possession with intent to distribute. He was first arrested on one count of animal cruelty in December, after police found his pet, Xena, disemboweled and disposed of in the woods off Sadler Street.

Dugan at the time admitted to police that he had sliced the dog open after it ingested heroin. He said he made the slice to relieve bloating, though police then said they believed he opened the dog to remove heroin.

Prosecutors added three counts of animal cruelty and the heroin charge when Dugan’s case moved from Gloucester’s District Court to the higher Superior Court level.

The recently released results of a necropsy show that Xena was dead when cut open.

Dugan’s lawyer, Morris, intends to move to dismiss the case on the grounds that since Xena was dead when sliced open, no act of cruelty was committed.

Animal cruelty laws entail cruel acts on live animals.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at

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