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January 17, 2013

Hearing delayed in pitbull, heroin case

GLOUCESTER — The motion hearing for John Dugan, the 28-year-old Prospect Street resident facing an animal cruelty charge for allegedly gutting his pet pitbull to retrieve heroin from the dog’s stomach, has been pushed back from Friday to a new date of March 5, court officials confirmed Wednesday.

Dugan faces an animal cruelty charge filed after his pitbull Xena had ingested heroin that Dugan had left on his kitchen counter, according to the Gloucester police report.

According to the report, police believe Dugan was packaging heroin for sale and the dog, which had reportedly died of an overdose, was cut open because she had ingested both sealed and open packages of heroin. Gloucester police believe that Dugan cut open the dog to recover the sealed bag of heroin, though he has denied the charge.

Dugan’s lawyer, Thomas O’Shea, filed a motion earlier for dismissal for the case, saying there is no cruelty element connected with the case because the dog was already dead when it was cut open.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at

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