Tenants Harbor woman pleads guilty to animal cruelty charge
Rockland — A 42-year-old Tenants Harbor woman pleaded guilty to two charges Sept.12, including animal cruelty, after police said she did not take a dog wounded by a gunshot to a veterinarian for treatment.
Holly J. Thibodeau was sentenced to serve 45 days in jail, all suspended, by Judge Susan Sparaco. She also pleaded guilty to an unlawful possession of Suboxone charge, and was ordered to pay a $400 fine.
Thibodeau's boyfriend, 37-year-old Eric Lugar of Tenants Harbor, told police in April he noticed his dog was injured when he came home from a party. In May he pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge, an unlawful possession of Suboxone charge, and violating conditions of release. He served 60 days in jail.
Thibodeau told police during a search of their home she did not know how the dog got hurt and admitted neither she nor Lugar had a prescription for Suboxone, court documents state.
Sgt. John Palmer of the Knox County Sheriff's Office responded to an animal welfare complaint after a concerned citizen said Lugar shot his own dog in the head at his residence when it defecated in the house.
The caller described the dog as a young mutt and said Lugar had bragged about shooting it.
When Palmer and Deputy Paul Pinkham, along with the town's animal control officer, Michael Mathiau, went to Lugar's home on Wallston Road, they saw the dog had injuries to the top of its head, above the left eye, and blood oozing from its muzzle. The exit wound, according to the police report, was in the lower jaw.
Lugar told police he did not shoot the dog. Initially, he said the dog was hit by a car two weeks prior, and later said he went to a party and when he returned home, found the dog with the injuries.
Lugar did not consent to a search of his home without a warrant and told police he did not own any guns. Lugar is a convicted felon and not allowed to own firearms, according to court documents.
Police later performed a search and found Suboxone strips in the house and .22-caliber bullets. No gun was found, according to court documents.
The dog, called Scooter, was taken by Mathiau to a veterinary clinic in South Thomaston for treatment. The veterinarian, who stayed after hours to examine the dog, said Scooter was "absolutely" suffering.
After further examination and X-rays, the vet determined Scooter was shot in the head, and found numerous bullet fragments in the canine's skull.
Scooter has been adopted by a new family.
Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
594-4401 ext. 118
Juliette primarily covers the cops and courts beat for The Courier-Gazette.
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