A 30-year-old Gloucester man is facing an animal cruelty charge after allegedly breaking the leg of his roommate’s dog after it chewed on a DVD and urinated on the floor.
Marc Appleton pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday in Gloucester District Court to a charge of animal cruelty. If convicted, the charge carries a minimum sentence of 2½ years in a house of correction and a maximum of up to five years in state prison.
On Dec. 12, Appleton’s roommate said he was selling Christmas trees on Essex Street in Gloucester when Appleton arrived with his beagle mix, Buddy, and told him the dog had been hit by a car, according to a police report.
The two men took the dog to Woburn Animal Hospital, and Appleton agreed to take out a loan to pay for the $4,900 in medical bills, the report said.
The roommate told police that Appleton did not say who or what kind of motor vehicle hit the dog. Additionally, no vehicular accidents involving a dog at Appleton’s address had been reported, police said.
Police interviewed three other witnesses, including Appleton’s upstairs neighbors, who said that they heard Appleton yelling followed by two loud thumps, and a dog crying in pain, the report said.
“The dog did not go outside until after he [the neighbor] heard the dog crying,” the neighbor witness said in the report. “Nobody else could have hurt the dog.”
One of the three witnesses, a friend who was in Appleton’s home after the alleged incident, urged Appleton to take the dog to the hospital after finding the animal hiding under the bushes outside with his leg severely swollen.
The friend told police that Appleton admitted to having “smacked it into the ground and counter” after coming home and discovering that the dog had chewed on a DVD.
When interviewed by police, Appleton denied hitting the dog and said the dog was hit by a car and he did not call police, the report said.
Two weeks ago, another Gloucester man was arrested and charged with animal cruelty after allegedly disemboweling his dog trying to retrieve heroin it had consumed and then dumping its body behind an industrial building.
Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at sarah.mattero@