Moose the dog was much loved by his Fort Kent family.  Harold Thibeault, 74, was arrested and charged with animal cruelty after he allegedly confessed to shooting Moose. Credit: Courtesy of Dr. Alexandra Roberts

FORT KENT, Maine – A 74-year-old Fort Kent man who confessed to shooting and killing his neighbors’ dog was charged with animal cruelty on Saturday.

Moose, a 3-year-old blue nose pitbull, was found lying dead in his family yard on Summer Street at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.  

Dr. Alexandra Roberts, a family physician and obstetrician at Northern Maine Medical Center, left work early that day when her nanny alerted her that Moose was nowhere to be found.

Roberts discovered Moose’s body, which she said was cold and stiff. When Roberts saw a bullet hole in Moose’s chest, she immediately called police. Roberts’ ex-husband brought the dog to Eastern Maine Emergency Veterinary Clinic in Brewer where veterinarian staff performed x-rays and removed a small projectile from the dog’s heart. Roberts said it’s unclear what type of weapon was used to shoot Moose.

While devastated, Roberts took to social media asking for anyone with information about what happened to Moose, including home security camera footage, to share it with Fort Kent Police.

Neighbors did just that. Less than 24 hours after Moose was found shot to death, neighbor Harold Thibeault, 74, confessed to shooting the dog, according to Fort Kent Police Chief Michael DeLena.

Roberts and her family, including two young children, moved into the home about a week ago from another home up the road. Nobody had ever complained about Moose, she said.

“He was the sweetest, goofiest, most patient and gentle boy,” Roberts said. “I have had dogs my whole life and he was really special. Everyone in the neighborhood knew and loved Moose.”

Thibeault lives in a government housing complex located across the street from Roberts.

Fort Kent police charged Thibeault with animal cruelty, a class D misdemeanor, which is punishable up to $2,000 in fines and 364 days incarcerated.  

“We have zero tolerance for animal cruelty and anyone committing these types of acts will be held accountable for their actions,” DeLena said.

DeLena said the investigation is ongoing and further charges are pending.