Gloucester man charged with disemboweling dog to retrieve heroin

A Gloucester man is facing animal cruelty charges after disemboweling his dog in an attempt to retrieve a large quantity of heroin it had consumed, police said.

John Dugan, 26, was arrested Thursday after police investigated the death of a female pit bull whose carcass was found earlier in the week dumped behind an industrial building near Route 128, police said in a report.

Dugan told police in an interview that the dog had eaten out of trash and a short time later died, police said.


In a subsequent interview with an MSPCA officer, Dugan told a somewhat different story — that the dog had jumped onto the counter at his home and ingested a large quantity of heroin. Dugan admitted that he had been snorting heroin and left it on the counter when he stepped out of his home, the report said.

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A search of Dugan’s home uncovered another male pit bull, which was taken by animal control officers for safekeeping, an electronic scale for weighing narcotics, and hundreds of plastic sandwich bags used for packaging narcotics, police said.

Dugan was arraigned today in Gloucester District Court on one count of animal cruelty. He was held on $27,000 bail.

Animal cruelty charges carry a minimum sentence of 2 ½ years in a house of correction and a maximum of up to 5 years in state prison.

Dugan’s next court date is Jan. 4.

Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at