More charges for suspected puppy abuser

June 5, 2017

By GAYLA CAWLEY

PEABODY A 32-year-old man wanted on larceny charges was arrested on Friday, and was also found to be in possession of an illegal handgun.

Police had been seeking John Leger, of Peabody, for allegedly charging HVAC equipment from FW Webb Plumbing Supply to an account he was not authorized to use, state police said.

Leger had previously been indicted on unrelated animal cruelty charges, stemming from an incident last November where he severely abused a puppy outside Tanner City Barber Shop on Main Street, authorities said.  

Authorities discovered a loaded .45 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun in the car Leger was driving. Troopers from the State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section had recently learned that Leger was staying at a residence on Woodbridge Street in Peabody, state police said.

Troopers and Peabody police detectives set up surveillance on that residence early Friday morning, and saw Leger leave the house and start to drive away. Police stopped his car and found the handgun in his glove box, state police said.

After his arrest on the warrants, Leger was additionally charged with carrying a firearm without a license, carrying a loaded firearm without a license, unlawful possession of ammunition, committing a firearm violation while having committed three prior violent or drug crimes, and operating a motor vehicle after his license was revoked for being a habitual traffic offender, state police said.

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Leger was arraigned Friday in Peabody District Court and was held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for June 8.

Leger had been indicted Feb. 22 by the Essex County District Attorney’s office on an unrelated incident for three counts of animal cruelty and witness intimidation. The charges stemmed from his severe physical abuse of a male pitbull puppy, and threats made to a witness, state police said.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston took custody of the dog, whose name is Bryson, after the incident. The dog remains in their care and is doing well, state police said.

Leger was held on a $25,000 cash bail follow his Jan. 9 arraignment in Peabody District Court, but bail was reduced to $5,000 at a bail review hearing shortly after his initial appearance, state police said.

When he was arraigned in Salem Superior Court following his indictment, bail was again set at $5,000 cash and he was ordered not to have custody, control, or reside with any animals. Police have since learned that he has been living with a dog in violation of the bail conditions, state police said.  

A motion to revoke his bail in the animal cruelty charge will be made by prosecutors, according to the Essex County District Attorney’s office.


Gayla Cawley can be reached at gcawley@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley