A gay couple have been left devastated after their home was burnt to the ground, killing the pair’s cats and dogs.
Maine couple Brian Aldo Baldie and Ron Pelletier were left devastated after the attack in September – which saw their Canaan home entirely destroyed by fire after being looted of valuables.
Though Baldie and Pelletier were out of the house at the time, they lost more than just possessions in the fire: all of the couple’s pets died in the attack.
The couple lost three cats, Queeny, Miss America and Princess Hootie – as well as two Chihuahuas, Susie and Chiquita, and dingo Chowie.
This month, the couple’s former neighbour Matthew Short was indicted – on charges of arson, burglary and aggravated cruelty to animals.
According to the Portland Press Herald, a police affidavit notes that Short admitted he “didn’t like the guys based on their sexuality.”
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However, a separate theory suggests Short was acting due to a dispute over missing money – a claim they both strongly deny.
Mr Baldie said: “Why would somebody break into somebody’s house, take a little bit of money, a little bit of jewellery and then set the house on fire with the animals in there?
“It doesn’t make any sense. It would have to be a hate crime.”
The former hairdresser added he was heartbroken over the loss of the animals.
Mr Pelletier said: “We never had any problems. We’re well liked by everybody.”
He added: “When I hear a dog barking, I think of the dogs (that died in the fire). When I hear a fire engine, I think of that. It just puts stuff in my life that was never there before.”
Despite the pair believing they were targeted for being gay, prosecutors are reluctant to seek hate crime charges.
Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Steve McCausland told the newspaper: “The sexual orientation of anyone involved has not been a focus of the investigation.”