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Animal rights advocates seek penalties in dog abuse case

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After seven months of bail hearings and postponed court dates, a Gloucester man accused of slicing open the body of his dead pit bull to retrieve heroin the dog had ingested was arraigned in Essex Superior Court in Salem last Wednesday.

As eight animal advocates demonstrated outside the courthouse, John Dugan, 27, pleaded not guilty to four counts of animal cruelty and one count of drug possession with intent to distribute. Bail was set at $20,000. Dugan’s court-appointed attorney, John Morris, said he would ask that all charges be dismissed.

“The fact that you’d do that to your own pet is horrific,” said Mary Lou Maraganis, a Gloucester resident who attended the hearing. “Who does that to a dog?”

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