GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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December 7, 2012

Man charged in grisly pitbull case

Owner gutted dog to retrieve heroin, police say

Police have charged the owner of a pitbull with animal cruelty after his pet was found dead, sliced open, and discarded over an embankment at the end of Sadler Street Extension earlier this week.

John “Jack” Dugan of 139 Prospect St., the 26-year-old dog owner, was arrested Wednesday about 1:23 p.m., and he was still being held as of late Friday on $25,000 cash bail.

Police Chief Leonard Campanello said the bail matched the “serious” crime.

According to police, the dog — whose body was discovered by another dog owner walking her own pet in the area — was completely disembowelled, and authorities found the dog’s entrails enclosed in a plastic bag that officers retrieved from a nearby Dumpster.

Police said that Dugan’s 1 1/2-year-old female blue nose pitbull Xena had apparently swallowed unpackaged heroin that Dugan said he had left on a counter in his home, as well as a sealed bag of the narcotic. Officers believe that Dugan cut the pitbull open in order to retrieve the sealed bag of heroin, according to the police report.

Police found the dog’s entrails enclosed in a plastic bag, which officers retrieved from a nearby dumpster.

According to the police report, Dugan confirmed officers’ suspicions that the dog had overdosed on heroin and died after eating the narcotic.

But Dugan’s stated reason for slicing the dog was different. Dugan told police that after the dog died, she began to bloat with gas, so he cut the pitbull open in order to make her body easier to dispose of by releasing the gases, according to the report.

An animal hospital doctor told police, however, that bloating would have been unlikely, and called Dugan’s explanation of cutting the dog open to relieve bloating a “blatant lie.”

Police said, based on that information, the officers’ theory that Dugan cut open Xena to retrieve heroin is the only “logical explanation.”

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