Fairfield man accused of animal cruelty after dragging dog

Posted July 19, 2013, at 10:07 a.m.

FAIRFIELD, Maine — A Fairfield man was arrested last weekend after he was found dragging his 4-year-old dog on Norridgewock Road, police say.

Multiple witnesses alerted police after they spotted James Wiggins, 43, dragging Bella, his beagle-dachshund mix, on a humid, 88-degree day, according to Fairfield police Sgt. Paul St. Amand.

St. Amand said Wiggins and the dog were returning home from a walk to a local store around 4 p.m. July 14 when Bella couldn’t keep walking due to the heat, and that’s when Wiggins allegedly began dragging the animal, the sergeant said.

As he was walking and dragging the dog, Wiggins was waving his arms for a ride and eventually got one, but a witness followed him to his house and police arrived shortly thereafter.

“It was very hot that day,” said St. Amand, noting that Bella was panting heavily and wouldn’t lift her head when Fairfield police, state police and Somerset County sheriff’s deputies responded.

St. Amand said police had fielded multiple calls regarding Wiggins dragging the dog. It is unknown whether he has any sort of criminal history, the sergeant said.

When officers arrived, water was poured on Bella, according to St. Amand, and while she was conscious, she couldn’t lift her head and was panting heavily when placed in an air-conditioned cruiser.

Wiggins was placed under arrest and brought to Somerset County Jail and later released on bail, the sergeant said. He faces up to a year in jail if convicted of the Class D misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals.

Bella is recovering at an Oakland veterinary hospital, St. Amand said.

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