EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 7, 2012

Pitbull sliced open after swallowing owner's heroin, Gloucester police say

By Marjorie Nesin
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — GLOUCESTER — 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 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.

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 excuse for slicing open the dog was different. Dugan told police that after the dog died, it 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.

Gloucester police have been conducting the investigation in conjunction with a state police officer from the MSPCA-Angell’s animal cruelty investigations unit.

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More on this story in tomorrow's edition of The Eagle-Tribune.