A fire that killed four dogs and three cats at a Canaan mobile home in September and displaced two men who lived there was arson, the state fire marshal’s office said Friday.

Aldo Baldie and his husband, Ron Pelletier, were at a celebration for a friend in Alcoholics Anonymous at the time of the fire Sept. 21 and came home to find flames shooting out of their mobile home at 289 Browns Corner Road.

Matthew Short, 30, of Canaan, was arrested Friday in connection with the fire and charged with arson, burglary and aggravated cruelty to animals, according to a news release from Maine Department of Public Safety Spokesman Steve McCausland.

Short allegedly entered the home before setting the house on fire, but did not take anything, and “it’s hard to believe he didn’t know the animals were inside since there were seven of them,” he said.

Authorities have not said how the fire was started and its specific cause remains under investigation, McCausland said.

Short lives at 759 Browns Corner Road, and while he knew of Baldie and Pelletier, McCausland said he was not sure how well they knew each other. “We’re still putting that together,” he said.

Short’s girlfriend, Sheena Moshier, 30, also was arrested Friday on unrelated charges of forgery, negotiating a worthless instrument and traffic offenses.

Both were taken to the Somerset County Jail. Short is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail and probably will make a court appearance Monday, according to the release. Moshier’s bail was set at $2,000.

Baldie and Pelletier were renting the Browns Corner Road mobile home and had moved in about a month before the fire.

Baldie, a former hairdresser, was out of work at the time of the fire. Pelletier is retired. Their pets included three Maine coon and Siamese mixed cats named Queeny, Miss America and Princess Hootie.

The dogs included two long-haired Chihuahuas, Susie and Chiquita; and a dingo, Chowie.

The day after the fire, Baldie, speaking from a hotel room in Skowhegan, said he was heartbroken over the loss of the animals and talked about a photo of the cats he had taken recently.

“I would say, ‘OK now, smile, cats. I’m taking a picture,’ and they would group up on the bed. I got all three of them,” he said. “I don’t have the heart to take it off my phone.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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