Brian Aldo Baldie and Ron Pelletier lived in a mobile home in Maine with their three cats and three dogs, until their home was burgled and then set alight in an arson attack which killed all their beloved pets.
The pair lost their three cats, Queeny, Miss American and Princess Hootie, and two Chihuahuas, Susie and Chiquita, and a dingo, Chowie.
The couple were left searching for answers, blaming faulty wiring, or questioning whether someone left something on the stove. However, after the police told them the fire was intentionally set, Brian began to believe the arson was motivated by hate.
"After they told me somebody did it, I thought, 'Well, I wonder if it’s because we’re gay,'" 71-year-old Pelletier told Portland Press
"Why would somebody break into somebody’s house, take a little bit of money, a little bit of jewelry and then set the house on fire with the animals in there?" Brian, 63 added. "It doesn’t make any sense. It would have to be a hate crime."
However, Maine Police believe the arson may have been motivated by an alleged dispute over missing money. Matthew Short, who was charged last week on charges of arson, burglary and aggravated cruelty to animals, claims that Baldie and Pelletier took $150 from his mobile home, which was on the same road.
The couple have stated they didn't know Short and never took money from him.
The day after the fire, a "heartbroken" Brian spoke to CentralMaine.com
about the loss of his animals, and shared a photo he had recently taken of his beloved cats.
"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."
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