May 21, 2018
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Auburn man accused of burning dog, assaulting girlfriend

By Mark LaFlamme, Sun Journal

AUBURN, Maine — A local man was in jail Thursday, accused of assaulting his girlfriend and burning a dog with a cigarette.

Robert Roy Rogers, 29, of 17 James St., is charged with domestic assault, obstructing the report of a crime and criminal cruelty to animals.

Police were investigating a reported assault on Rogers’ girlfriend when they learned of the earlier incident with the dog, investigators said.

It happened Sept. 4, when Rogers allegedly pressed the burning tip of a cigarette to the belly of the dog, a pit bull mix. Police said the dog is owned by Rogers and his girlfriend.

“Apparently, he was angry because the dog seemed to like her better,” Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout said. “He wanted the dog to listen to him, so he burned it with a cigarette. I think it’s safe to assume it was very painful for the dog.”

Police learned of that incident while they were speaking with Rogers’ girlfriend, who was seeking a protection order. Strout said she provided police with a photo of the dog’s wound.

After viewing the photo and speaking with the girlfriend, Strout went to the Androscoggin County Jail to give Rogers, who was being held on the assault charge, a summons to court.

On Saturday, Sept. 7, police went to 17 James St. after receiving a report that a couple was fighting inside an apartment. Police said Rogers’ girlfriend had red marks around her neck, left there when Rogers allegedly slapped her, shoved her against a wall and pinned her there by pressing his arm to her neck.

According to a court affidavit, Rogers snatched a phone from his girlfriend’s hand as she tried to call for help. Police charged Rogers, who has remained jailed since.

The dog remains with Rogers’ girlfriend, Strout said. He said the burn on the animal’s stomach will eventually heal. Using a burning cigarette to train a dog, he said, “is really not an acceptable form of corrective behavior.”

Correction: An earlier version of the headline requires correction. Rogers is accused of burning only the dog with a cigarette, not the woman and the dog.

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