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Thursday, Oct 23, 2008County: Litchfield
Alleged: Joseph Gagne, Jr.
A Bethlehem man accused of taking a pig belonging to his neighbor, First Selectman Jeffrey Hamel, after shooting it with a bow and arrow was ordered held on $25,000 bond.
Joseph Gagne Jr., 46, 98 Hard Hill Road, pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of cruelty to animals and attempt to commit third-degree larceny.
Gagne, who had a wildlife nuisance control business several years ago, was ordered to appear in court again Dec. 2. Judge Cara Eschuk ordered Gagne to have no contact with the owner of the pig.
"If you have any firearms, you must turn them over to the police," Eschuk said.
"I don't have any," Gagne said.
Gagne's house was the scene of a suspicious fire on Oct. 23, police reported. During the investigation into the fire, ammunition was found in a storage area above the garage. Gagne was the only person to use that area and is prohibited from having firearms as a convicted felon, police said.
Gagne has prior convictions for risk of injury to a minor, interfering with police, breach of peace and in Massachusetts, operating with disregard for life and safety of others.
Police seized numerous rounds of shotgun, handgun, and rifle ammunition, three compound bows, numerous broken pieces of aluminum and carbon arrow shafts, one intact arrow and two arrow tips, according to an arrest warrant.
Jeffrey Hamel, the owner of the 18-month-old pig, called state police Oct. 24 to report someone killed his family's pet pig. When Hamel got home, he found the pig dead in his yard at the edge of his driveway. Hamel's neighbor, Bill Murphy reportedly caught Joseph Gagne using a come-along to winch the 350-pound pig into his pick-up truck.
Gagne reportedly told Murphy he saw a car hit the pig, so he was taking it for food.
Murphy told Gagne to leave, according to the warrant.
No skid marks or car parts were in the area to suggest the animal was struck by a car, police said.
A puncture wound was on the right side of the animal's rib cage.
A trail of blood trail led Hamel to the north end of his property on Hard Hill Road.
Hamel told police the direction of the blood splatter suggested the pig was not in the road but in the entryway of his property and collapsed as it ran toward its pen.
Flattened grass suggested to him the sow thrashed around before it was dragged away from the pen toward the driveway.
Hamel found part of an aluminum arrow inside the carcass. Hamel was raising the pig for breeding, but it was like a pet, he said.
He estimated its value at $1,500.
Police reported the arrow probably entered the chest cavity and caused damage to the lungs and heart.
- Register Citizen - Oct 31, 2008
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