SKOWHEGAN — Police have charged a former Skowhegan couple with animal cruelty in connection with the abuse and neglect of a small dog in November.

Paul and Christina Laudieri, both 44, now living in Clinton, are each charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by fines and up to 364 days in jail.

Police Chief Michael Emmons said the couple previously resided in Skowhegan near where the black and white poodle was found abandoned and unable to walk a month ago.

The Laudieris told police they left the dog, hoping that someone would find it and “give it a chance.”

“They didn’t take care of the poor thing,” Emmons said. “It couldn’t walk.”

Attempts to reach the Laudieris by telephone, Internet searches and social media were unsuccessful Wednesday.

The dog was taken to the police station Nov. 29 by someone who found it at the Woodland Mobile Home park on Dr. Mann Road. Police Officer Josh King brought it to the Somerset Animal Shelter, where it was euthanized that day because it was so badly abused and neglected.

“Officer King went to the previous residence — he did his homework,” Emmons said Wednesday.

Workers at the shelter said the dog’s eyes were matted shut with feces, as was one side of its face, preventing it from eating.

Shelter worker Chelsea Gardiner said she took the dog to veterinarian Michael Wing, who concluded it suffered from chronic neglect, flea infestation and paralysis. He determined the dog was about 8 years old.

A date has not been set for the Laudieris to appear in court.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367
dharlow@centralmaine.com