Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Roger Pelletier, 50 trying to strangle his neighbor's dog for barking

Portsmouth, NH

Rockingham County

November 28, 2014  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date /Courthouse
Felony burglary, simple assault 1 female Shih Tzu; 1 cat Alleged Portsmouth Circuit Court

A Portsmouth man remained behind bars Tuesday after being accused of trying to strangle his neighbor’s dog and allegedly telling police that he wanted to break its neck because it wouldn’t stop barking.

(Photo courtesy of the Portsmouth Police Department) Roger Pelletier, 50, of 263 Rockland St., Apt. 31, faces felony animal cruelty and burglary charges and a misdemeanor simple assault charge stemming from last week’s attack on a female Shih Tzu named Oreo.

“It was an extreme case of cruelty to animals,” police Lt. Darrin Sargent said.

Pelletier is accused of barging into the apartment of neighbor Jessie Angelli, pushing her aside and grabbing Oreo around the neck.

He was arrested Friday after police were called to the Portsmouth Apartments on Rockland Street to investigate what was described as a neighbor dispute. In a police affidavit, Officer Roland J. Dupuis said a visibly shaken Angelli told police that someone had been banging on her apartment door for two days and she eventually decided to open it to see who was there. When she opened the door, Angelli claimed Pelletier forced his way into the apartment by pushing her and the door out of the way, and once inside, began chasing after her dog while stating, “I’m going to kill that dog,” Dupuis wrote in the affidavit.

Angelli told officers that Pelletier chased Oreo into a bedroom. The dog tried to hide under the bed, but he then grabbed her, threw her onto the bed and began choking her with both hands. “Angelli attempted to get Pelletier to stop the assault and told him she was going to call 911. Pelletier then walked into the living room and back out into the hallway while holding Oreo by the neck.

At this point, Angelli was able to call 911 while simultaneously attempting to save her dog. She was able to regain control of Oreo once in the hallway,” Dupuis wrote. Pelletier told police that Angelli’s dog wouldn’t stop barking and that he had contacted police and housing officials many times, but the problem wasn’t resolved. He also claimed that the barking had lasted a few months and he had been “beating” on Angelli’s door in the days leading up to the incident.

According to the affidavit, Pelletier told police that he “just kind of barged in” and then chased Oreo into the bedroom where he grabbed her from under the bed and began choking her with one hand while holding her body with the other. When police asked what he was trying to do by grabbing the dog’s neck, he responded that he “tried breaking his neck,” the affidavit said. “Pelletier went on to explain he walked back through the living room and into the hallway with the dog. Once there, he stated he held onto the dog’s paw for at least five minutes to prevent Angelli from taking the dog back inside,” the affidavit said. Oreo bit Pelletier several times during the incident, police said.

(Oreo, Photo courtesy of the Portsmouth Police Department) The dog survived, and was evaluated by a veterinarian. Angelli wasn’t hurt.

Authorities have also taken custody of Pelletier’s cat, which is now being cared for at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Stratham.

Pelletier was ordered held at the Rockingham County jail on $5,000 cash bail and $2,500 personal recognizance bail at his arraignment Monday morning in Portsmouth Circuit Court.

Pelletier is due back in court on Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. for a probable cause hearing.

Update 12/9/14: Pelletier is expected to appear in court today. Pelletier was scheduled for a probable cause hearing in Portsmouth Circuit Court on Monday, but the hearing was moved to 2 p.m. today.

Update 12/10/14: Pelletier charged in a vicious attack on a neighbor’s dog will remain in jail until he can find a new place to stay and post bail.

A handcuffed Pelletier appeared briefly in the Portsmouth Circuit Court Tuesday afternoon for a probable cause hearing on charges he barged into his neighbor’s apartment, grabbed a female shih tzu named Oreo and allegedly tried to strangle the little dog.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Sawako Gardner agreed that if he’s able to find a new place to live with a verifiable address, Pelletier’s bail will convert to either $1,000 cash and $5,000 personal recognizance or $5,000 cash or surety and $5,000 personal recognizance.

Pelletier has been ordered not to return to the apartment building and isn’t allowed to have contact with neighbor Jessie Angelli.

Portsmouth police prosecutor David Colby said, It’s unclear whether Pelletier will be able to find a new place to stay if he makes bail. “Apparently he has some resources in the community from what I’m told by the public defender’s office, but I don’t know what the extent of those are.” Colby said his office would allow Pelletier to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet if he’s released.

Public defender Debra Dupont would not elaborate on any housing options available to Pelletier, but added, “He’s got a lot of community support.” David Lincoln, a parishioner at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, attended Tuesday’s hearing to show his support for Pelletier. Lincoln didn’t speak at the hearing, but outside the courtroom explained how he’s known Pelletier for some time. “I’m trying to (provide) emotional support, but I don’t even think he saw me,” he said. Lincoln said he sees Pelletier every Thursday at the Common Table at the church. Chefs for the Common Table donate their time to prepare meals for people in need. “He’s never been a problem. He volunteers his services to clean up and put the tables and chairs away,” he said. “He talks to other people, and he’s got friends over there.” Lincoln said there’s “no question he went over the top” when he allegedly attacked the dog, but he insisted that Pelletier wasn’t the only one to complain about the barking dog in the past. Lincoln said he plans to work with the church to see if they can help with his housing.

Meanwhile, the case remains under investigation and Pelletier could face additional charges. His cat was also seized by authorities after his arrest, and is being held at the Cocheco Valley Humane Society. The cat was described as “matted,” but police have not said it was abused.“ An investigation into that cat is being done by both the animal control officer as well as the arresting officer,” Colby said.


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