WALDOBORO, Maine — A Jefferson man charged in June with shooting 80-100 BBs into a Labrador retriever allegedly told police that he was intoxicated at the time and angry that the dog failed to respond to training.
Aaron Armstrong, 33, who at the time lived in Waldoboro but now lists his residence as Jefferson, was arrested June 13, and indicted in September by a Lincoln County grand jury on a Class C charge of aggravated cruelty to animals and Class E violation of conditions of release.
An affidavit submitted by Waldoboro police and included in court documents reviewed Friday by the Bangor Daily News sheds more light on Armstrong’s alleged mistreatment of the dog.
The affidavit shows that officers went to Armstrong’s home on June 13, about 10 days after an abandoned puppy was found near Orffs Corner. A veterinarian’s examination of the dog revealed almost 100 BB lodged in its body.
Armstrong allegedly later told Waldoboro police Detective Jason Benefield that after he saw news reports about the dog’s shooting, he hid a BB gun and ammunition in his attic.
“Armstrong also said he shot the black Labrador behind his house or wherever the dog happened to be while he was extremely intoxicated,” the affidavit states. “He said the dog was not responding to training and when he drank he became angry with the dog.”
The state charges that, “On June 1, 2013 … in a manner manifesting a depraved indifference to animal life or suffering, did intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause extreme physical pain to kill or physically torture an animal.”
The dog, since adopted and named Lady by South Bristol resident Peter Blanton, was discovered by Waldoboro Animal Control Officer Laurice Ducharme and taken to the Lincoln County Animal Shelter in Edgecomb. Later, veterinarian Dean Domeyer discovered 80-100 BBs on X-rays.
“This dog is riddled with BB shots from her nose to her tail,” shelter manager Carrie Koskela said at the time.
Armstrong pleaded not guilty at his Nov. 1 arraignment and is scheduled for a jury trial on Feb. 3, 2014. He was released on $25,000 secured bail, according to court documents.
On Friday, Armstrong’s attorney, David Paris, said he would wait to see what the state’s position is, adding, “I’m thinking it’s a case that should be resolved in the absence of a trial.”