Police search for clues, motive in dog killing

Case remains open
By Beth A. Birmingham | Nov 01, 2017
Courtesy of: Amy Joy Peppermint Patty was killed while walking along a trail near Thomaston Dog Park Oct. 31. Police are seeking information on the incident.

Thomaston — Thomaston police are still investigating the death of a dog that had been walking on a trail near the dog park Oct. 31. The dog appeared to have been shot with an arrow, but the projectile was not found at the scene.

Police Chief Tim Hoppe reported Nov. 2 the dog had in fact been shot with an arrow, as confirmed by a veterinarian.

“It remains an open investigation,” Hoppe said, adding the Maine Warden Service is assisting in the investigation. The area is an active hunting zone, Hoppe said, and cautioned people to wear orange clothing and take precautions with their animals as well.

“It's unfortunate, but hopefully we'll get to the bottom of it,” Hoppe said.

According to a map on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife's website, the area where the incident took place is part of the expanded archery hunting area. Normal bow and arrow hunting for the state was Sept. 28 through Oct. 27, however the expanded timeframe -- in designated areas only -- is Sept. 9 through Dec. 9.

Hoppe said Oct. 31 he and another officer went to the woods at the trail, which is two tenths of a mile from the dog park, looking for clues as to how a 5-and-a-half-year-old Border Collie mix was killed.

Peppermint, a rescue dog from Arkansas, was out with a friend of the owner and her dog between 9 and 10:30 a.m. when the incident occurred.

"They were walking the trails right beside the dog park that go back into the woods," Amy Joy, Peppermint's owner, said. "The dogs run back and forth on the trails. Her dog came back to her, and was whimpering. She called and called Peppermint, and she did not come back."

Joy said they kept walking, looking for the dog and came upon Peppermint under a tree.

"She had been shot by what looks like an arrow," Joy said, explaining there are entrance and exit wounds on the dog's chest, from one side clean through to the other.

Joy said her friend called her from the trail and was so emotional she could hardly speak.

"Her husband came down to the dog park and trails and carried Peppermint back to the car," Joy said.

According to her friend, the dogs were not much ahead of her and she never heard a gunshot.

"When they got back to our house in Warren, we called the Thomaston police and we all went back to the trail by the dog park and retraced her steps with the officer," Joy said.

Her friend had marked where she had found Peppermint.

"We found no signs whatsoever of an arrow, blood, or a tree stand," she said.

Officer Tom Hoepner and Animal Control Officer William Demmons went to Joy's home to see the injuries to Peppermint, and said it looked like an arrow shot, according to Joy.

"We took Peppermint to All Creatures Veterinary Hospital to get an official statement on whether it was a gun or an arrow," Joy said. She received an email from Dr. Mimi Moore that stated because it is under investigation, she is not able to give the result of the necropsy report.

"It could have been an accident, but appears to more likely be a deliberately cruel act," Joy said.

Peppermint Patty was the dog's full name, Joy said, because she was black and white like a peppermint patty... "and sweet as mint on the inside!"

"We can't get her back, but I want to see justice done and find this person if possible. This is a trail close to the dog park -- why is it not posted for no hunting? There are people up and down these trails, it could have been a person shot," Joy said.

"She was the sweetest dog, loved to play, loved doing agility, got along with many people and dogs alike. She was also the most faithful friend, and she was my best therapy," she added.

Joy said she is willing to put up a reward for information, but is awaiting further information from the Thomaston Police Department.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call the police department at 354-2511.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Janet Ruth Dearborn | Nov 07, 2017 16:37

On August 1, 2017, at 8:30 AM on a Sunday morning I was having coffee on my back deck with my three cats in Thomaston. I went briefly into my home with two cats following me, when I came back out my orange tiger Harry was not on the deck nor in my yard. I started to call him walking up to the park behind my house which abuts my backyard. My neighbors reported that there was one extremely loud shot that was shocking because of the proximity to their homes, I hadn't heard it.


I continued to search for Harry, my cats are not outdoor cats, but they do try to escape. Please do not initiate a dialogue on keeping cats inside, it simply does not apply here.  At 1:00 PM I received a call from the Emergency Veterinary Clinic, the Thomaston Animal Control Officer had brought Harry in, Harry is microchipped. Speeding to the clinic I thought perhaps he had been hit by a car. When I arrived they showed me into a room, Harry was highly drugged, but I was so glad he was alive. When the vet told me to turn around to look at the x-rays I saw the bones in Harry's rear leg shattered and a bullet resting on his hip. Honestly, I think I went into shock.


They were unsure if Harry would survive the night, let alone surgery. The next morning I went to the clinic to transport Harry to my vet,  Dr. Lee at PenBay Veterinary in Camden. A day later Harry's rear leg was amputated. I had asked Dr. Lee to retain the bullet and asked for a  photographic narrative of Harry's injuries for the police. There are no words to express my gratitude to Dr. Lee and his staff for their care and kindness shown to Harry.


Harry and I slept on the living room floor for almost a month. First, it was round the clock pain control, then it was following him while he tried to learn how to negotiate on three legs. Harry is a large 19 lb. tomcat.  My bills for Harry approached $4,000. When you arrive and find your cat comfortably drugged and are asked how you would like to proceed, having Harry euthanized never crossed my mind. But there are people who told me I brought the financial hardship on myself by not making the decision to euthanize Harry.

Thomaston Police:


I received several discouraging visits from Thomaston police officers who informed me they rarely if ever catch the person. This is a residential area with houses closely spaced, abutting a park where small children play. Did I suggest trying to envision a quiet Sunday morning interrupted by your pet being shot in your backyard? Yes, I did. I was asked to write a report for the police. I delivered my report, the bullet, my vet's report and my bills to Chief Hoppe. He assured me he took animal cruelty very seriously and an investigation would ensue. From my initial meeting with Chief Hoppe, he stated that he believed it was a neighbor.


I wished to remain anonymous. The Pope Animal Shelter posted photos of Harry and a brief story on Facebook, the posting received 1K hits within a couple of days. I was discouraged from offering a reward. This part of the story might not make sense unless you were born and raised in Maine. I grew up in a world where I witnessed retribution as a fear tactic on too many occasions. So, I drew all the shades in my home, didn't go in my backyard at all and generally felt ill at ease. A couple of weeks after the shooting I was told the police had a suspect. Now, I was living with my suspected neighbor but was told this was not problematic.


I constantly inquired about the progress of the investigation through countless emails and phone calls. They were awaiting the report from the state lab on the bullet so they could present a stronger case, this seemed logical. But, as a property owner, I felt deprived of the use of my yard and did not enjoy the concept of living near the person that shot my cat.


Last week I was finally "briefed on the progress of the investigation" by the Thomaston Police, it didn't take long. When the incident occurred in August they felt the "suspect" lived in a rental property on my street. By the end of August, the "suspect" had moved "a couple of towns over". I was told that an officer would accompany a detective from the Sheriff's department to interview the suspect for the first time within a couple of days. I inquired with three months having passed, wouldn't this person have deniability and would it not be likely that he would not be in possession of the gun? They told me it was still being pursued.


I left the station very disheartened. If they had shared with me that the individual had moved I could have had a little peace of mind for the last two months. It would appear that the bullet and the information I provided did not advance the case at all. Maybe I should have gone with my gut feeling and offered a reward. I did make it very plain that I would be pursuing a restraining order as soon as the person was identified, I was frightened to even have this information floating around.


This is definitely what Thomaston is about to me now. I had great hopes of becoming civically involved in Thomaston.  I chaired both the Planning Board, Zoning Board and was the chair for a new comprehensive plan where I lived in RI. All critical agendas that Mrs. McCrea diligently follows for all the residents of Thomaston. Her countless hours should be commended, you must be vigilant if you want the vision of Thomaston to be protected. I had hoped to be involved civically, I have been everywhere I have lived.


My vision now is to sell my home.









Posted by: Judy Olson | Nov 02, 2017 11:25

It is also way beyond "unfortunate" as stated by the Thomaston Police Chief.  The Maine Warden Service needs to go full force with a thorough investigation of this matter until it is resolved.  Anybody that figures they have a right to kill this dog needs to be hunted and put away; maybe it would send a message to any other useless lowlife that feel entitled to kill at will.

Posted by: Margaret McCrea | Nov 01, 2017 23:33

This is beyond troubling. There are no words for such a senseless and cruel act, definitely NOT what Thomaston is about.


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