GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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December 7, 2012

Man charged in grisly pitbull case tied to heroin

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 Extension Tuesday afternoon.

John “Jack” Dugan, the 26-year-old dog-owner and Prospect Street resident, was arrested Wednesday about 1:23 p.m., with his bail posted at $25,000.

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

Police said that Dugan’s pitbill 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’ suspicion that the dog had overdosed on heroin and died after eating the narcotic. But Dugan’s excuse 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 found a scale and small sandwich bags in Dugan’s apartment during a search. The animal control officer seized another pitbull dog, owned by Dugan, from Dugan’s house during the search, according to the report.

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