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The Sagadahoc County sheriff’s deputy arrested last week was accused of attempting to strangle his girlfriend last month.

The Times Record reports that Matthew Shiers, 35, has been charged with aggravated assault, which was elevated to a felony because it involved strangulation. That charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. He also has been charged with two misdemeanors — domestic violence and animal cruelty — punishable by up to 364 days in prison and a $2,000 fine.

The alleged assault, which happened in West Bath on June 23, was reported to the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office on June 26 after the victim confided with a friend, The Times Record reports.

Police told the newspaper that during the alleged assault, Shiers allegedly hurt a dog in order to get “the victim to react.”

The investigation into the alleged assault was handed over to the Cumberland County district attorney’s office, and Cumberland County sheriff’s deputies arrested Shiers in Bath at 8 a.m. Friday.

Shiers was released Friday from the Cumberland County Jail in Portland on $1,000 bail. Shiers has been prohibited from having contact with the victim or her friend, as well as from possessing alcohol, illegal drugs, firearms or other dangerous weapons, according to The Times Record.

He is scheduled to appear in West Bath District Court on Sept. 30 for arraignment, the newspaper reports.

Shiers was suspended with pay, but that could change if an internal investigation finds he violated department policies and procedures, The Times Record reports. Shiers, who has been with the sheriff’s office since 2006, graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in May 2007, according to the BDN archives.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.