Tenants Harbor man accused of shooting dog over mess made in his home

Posted April 29, 2013, at 3 p.m.
Last modified April 29, 2013, at 5:14 p.m.
Eric Lugar
Courtesy photo
Eric Lugar

ROCKLAND, Maine — A 37-year-old Tenants Harbor man accused of shooting a dog in the head because it defecated on his floor is being held without bail after his arrest Saturday evening.

Eric Lugar was charged with two counts of cruelty to animals, possession of drugs and violating a condition of release. His live-in girlfriend, Holly J. Thibodeau, 41, also was charged with cruelty to animals and possession of drugs. She was released on bail over the weekend.

The dog survived the shooting.

Judge Susan Sparaco said the allegation of animal cruelty was particularly brutal since the dog did not receive care after it was injured.

According to the affidavit filed by Sgt. John Palmer of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the department was alerted to the matter earlier in the month by a concerned citizen who said he heard Lugar brag about shooting the dog because it had made a mess on his floor.

Officers went to Lugar’s home on Monday, April 15, and asked about the dog, a mutt named Scooter that was less than a year old. Lugar told them that the dog had been hit by a car about two weeks earlier. When the officer said it appeared the dog had been shot, Lugar changed his story and said he had gone out the previous Friday night and returned home to find the dog had been injured, according to the affidavit.

The officer spotted what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the dog above its left eye. He also found blood leaking from the dog’s wound and in its mouth.

The dog was taken to Harbor Road Veterinary Hospital in South Thomaston and the veterinarian found bullet fragments in its skull and determined that the dog had been shot, according to the affidavit. There also was a bullet hole on the roof of the dog’s mouth and in its tongue, the document states. Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody said there was an exit wound under the dog’s chin.

Officers found .22-caliber bullets, the type that injured the dog, in the house but found no weapon.

Lugar is a convicted felon based on motor vehicle offenses, according to the affidavit, and barred from having a firearm.

Arrest warrants were obtained and Lugar was arrested April 27. He was taken to the Knox County Jail.

Judge Sparaco on Monday ordered him held without bail based on the state’s motion to revoke bail. Lugar has pending charges that include receiving stolen property.

During a search of the home, Suboxone strips were found in a dresser drawer, according to the affidavit. Lugar was charged with two counts — one for shooting the dog and one for not getting it care after the injury. Thibodeau was charged based on not getting care for the animal.

The two had gotten the dog in December from the Lincoln County Animal Shelter.

Defense attorney Jeremy Pratt, who represented inmates for the Monday afternoon hearings, asked for bail to be set at $25,000 surety. Lugar is a lifelong resident of the area, owns his own home and owns an additional apartment building, he said.

Pratt also said the state’s case had problems, noting that even though the state claims Lugar shot the dog, no weapon was found in the home. He said $25,000 surety would be high bail for a misdemeanor case that has problems.

Lugar’s next court hearing is scheduled for May 28.

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