A judge in Hancock County set bail Wednesday at $1,000 each for two men accused of stealing and killing a dog that later washed up onto the waterfront property of the district attorney after being shot and placed in a plastic bag.

Nathan A. Burke, 37, of Hancock and Justin T. Chipman, 22, of Steuben and Winter Harbor, turned themselves in at the Hancock County Jail on Tuesday. They appeared in court Wednesday. While Superior Court Justice Robert Murray set bail for each defendant at $1,000 cash, Chipman will not be allowed to post bail before a Sept. 25 hearing because he was on administrative release for a terrorizing conviction at the time he is accused of burglarizing a home and killing the dog.

The bizarre case began Aug. 26, when a Winter Harbor resident reported that his home was broken into, his Hummer was stolen and returned damaged and he could not find his dog, a Boston terrier-pug mix named Franky.

Phillip Torrey told police that someone had entered his house while he was traveling to New Hampshire for a concert, the Ellsworth American reported. Burglars had stolen Torrey’s Hummer SUV, went mudding with it and damaged the SUV and stole his dog, police told the newspaper.

Last Thursday, the dog’s body washed up on a beach at the coastal home of Hancock County District Attorney Matt Foster. Foster and his family reside in Hancock, which sits across Frenchman Bay from Winter Harbor and Bar Harbor.

Foster told the Ellsworth American that his wife saw the bag containing the dog’s body and called her husband outside.


“She thought it looked suspicious and so I opened it to see what was in there because it didn’t look like normal garbage,” Foster told the newspaper.

Foster and his wife are witnesses in the case, even as his office will handle the prosecution.

“Unfortunately, my being a witness means that I can’t personally handle the case in court, but it does not mean that this office can’t handle it,” Foster said. “(Deputy District Attorney Toff) Toffolon will be handling the case.”

Winter Harbor Police Chief Danny Mitchell Jr. issued warrants for the men on Saturday. Mitchell has said that Burke had been employed by Torrey, the dog’s owner.

Burke and Chipman have been charged with one count each of aggravated cruelty to animals, aggravated criminal mischief, burglary, theft and unauthorized use of property.

Police have said the dog’s remains are being analyzed by a lab, apparently to determine a cause of death or to develop other evidence about what happened to it.


Torrey told News Center Maine that he had considered the two men friends. He also said he has been getting a lot of support from people outraged by the incident.

“Animals are innocent,” Torrey told News Center Maine. “They’re like kids, you know what I mean? No one speaks for animals and there’s horrible things that happen to them, you know, neglect and abuse and everything.”

Mitchell, the police chief, told News Center that the court hearing Wednesday is the “first step in getting closure for the family, the community, and getting justice served for this horrific crime.”

John Richardson can be contacted at 791-6324 or at:


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: