ROCKLAND, Maine — A 37-year-old Tenants Harbor man was sentenced Tuesday to 60 days in jail for shooting a dog that had defecated on his floor.
Eric T. Lugar also received a concurrent sentence for illegal possession of a firearm and possessing a stolen television.
Justice Joyce Wheeler sentenced Lugar in Knox County Superior Court to 364 days in jail with all but 60 days suspended for cruelty to animals. In addition, he received a two-year sentence for possessing the firearm and taking a television from a St. George home in November. He will serve 60 days in total.
The shooting of his mixed-breed dog Scooter occurred April 15 at the home that Lugar and his 41-year-old girlfriend Holly J. Thibodeau shared. An animal cruelty charge against Thibodeau for not caring for the wounded dog is pending. She is scheduled to appear in court on June 24.
According to an affidavit filed in court by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the department was alerted to the shooting by a person who heard Lugar bragging about shooting the dog because it had made a mess on the floor.
Deputies went to the home and found the dog had been shot. Lugar told officers that Scooter was hit by a car, but when confronted about the bullet wound, changed his story. He told authorities his dog came home wounded a few days earlier.
The dog had been shot above its left eye; the bullet penetrated through the dog’s mouth and jaw. The canine was taken to a veterinarian and has since recovered.
At the time of his initial court appearance after his arrest in April, defense attorney Jeremy Pratt had told the judge that the state’s case was weak, pointing out that no gun was found when they searched the home.
In addition to his sentence, Lugar was ordered to pay $275 in restitution to the town of St. George for its animal control services. Wheeler also barred him from having a dog while he is on probation for a year.
The other offenses for which Lugar was sentenced Tuesday involve a television stolen from a home in St. George. Officers found the television at Lugar’s home after being tipped off by another suspect who confessed to breaking into homes in St. George.
Police also located a .25 caliber automatic pistol in a clothes drawer. Lugar is prohibited from possessing a firearm because he is a convicted felon based on prior motor vehicle offenses.