Police charge Madawaska man after St. Bernards starve to death

9 April 2012

MADAWASKA – Police charged 38-year-old Lee Mangos of Madawaska with a civil infraction of cruelty to animals after two dogs that were in his charge starved to death, and a third dog was near starvation when police arrived at his rented home on March 20.

After receiving an anonymous phone tip, police went to Mangos’ residence to investigate a report that he had two deceased adult St. Bernards in his garage.

“Once I received the complaint, I needed to follow up on this,” said Madawaska Police Chief Carroll Theriault.

Theriault said it appeared nobody was home when they arrived, but that officers were greeted by Diesel, a collie shepherd mix who barked at them when they knocked on the door. Diesel was thin, but seemed otherwise healthy according to Theriault. He said he looked through windows, but did not see any sign of a deceased dog, though he noted that conditions in and around the home were deteriorated. Police returned to the station, where Mangos arrived within a half hour after police left his home.

Theriault said Mangos was cooperative and admitted that the two deceased dogs were in his garage and that he was waiting for the ground to thaw so he could bury them. Police returned to the home and removed the dogs.

“It was very apparent that they had probably died from starvation from their physical appearance,” said Theriault. “I could count every rib.”

Mangos signed over Diesel to an animal humane officer who transported the dog to the Central Aroostook Humane Society shelter in Presque Isle.

In a phone interview, Mangos reported that he was upset that the dogs had died. He said he was involved in a “nasty divorce,” and that his ex was supposed to help him with the dogs that he bought for her.

 “This was not done intentionally,” said Mangos. “I was in a very bad financial rut. When my ex-wife left, I told her that I could not take care of those dogs.”

Because the dogs were in his charge, however, Theriault said the responsibility for their health resided with Mangos.

Mangos said he did all he could to try and feed the dogs, but the help his ex-wife promised never came and he could barely afford to survive himself, let alone care for the dogs properly.

“I went days without eating myself, just so they could eat,” said Mangos. “Because they were St. Bernards, and eating human food they weren’t getting the nutrients they needed.”

Police charged Mangos with a civil infraction due to the circumstances surrounding the case and because this was Mangos’ first transgression of this kind and he was cooperative with police, even expressing remorse for the situation. Mangos will have to pay a fine. If the District Attorney’s Office determines the case to warrant criminal charges, then he could still be charged with a Class D felony.

Health officer Percy Thibeault determined the property where Mangos was staying on 14th Avenue as unhealthy. The property owners, who Theriault said are from Presque Isle and were unaware of what was happening at the home, are now cleaning the house and surrounding yard.

Theriault said he wished Mangos had come to the police for help before the situation had progressed so far.

“I’ve been in law enforcement over 30 years, and I have never seen anything so heartbreaking and unfortunate when it comes to animal abuse. We have food at the shelter. We would not have let any animal starve,” he said.

Mangos said that he has undergone counseling to help him deal with the stress and anxiety his divorce and financial situation has put him under. He said he has lived in Madawaska for over four years and in that time he has worked on the fire department and served the community. Mangos said he was ashamed that this happened.

 “I love animals,” said Mangos, who has owned dogs his entire life. “When this happened, I was devastated.”

Depending on the court decision, Mangos may never be allowed to own a dog again. Theriault said that the District Attorney’s Office could request the court place the restriction on Mangos, but it is unclear at this point if that is a condition they plan on applying.



Doesn't anyone care?

I'm surprised there aren't more comments here. Doesn't anyone care what this man did to his pets? Starving is a long, cruel, painful way to die and was easily avoidable by finding homes for these dogs. It sounds like he didn't even try to maintain them - he never even bought cheap dog food, just fed them "human food" and claims that he went hungy to do it. But you don't see any pictures of an emaciated person here, do you? So he's owned dogs his entire life. There should be a good long history of good pet ownership to document there before he got into his recent "financial rut" then, shouldn't there? Let's hear some references from his family, friends, neighbors and vets before he gets off with a boo-hoo my life just went down the toilet story. Remember, he's not the one who suffered, the DOGS did!

starving your dogs to death should be a crime

Upon reading the article I think it's abundantly clear that he starved those poor dogs to death out of retaliation to his ex-wife. I believe he states that he bought the dogs for her and upon their divorce she was supposed to help him financially to care for the dogs, which she did not. Retaliation, plain and simple. I can imagine his line of thinking: "They're your dogs. I'm not going to take care of them. You don't want them, I'll just let them starve. That'll get you!" Hopefully law enforcement is able to see through this monster's crap and convict him to the fullest extent of the law. He's a liar and starved the dogs INTENTIONALLY. Unbelievable.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

If you have proof that this happened, you might contact a local animal rights association, and they will act on your behalf, but don't wait too long. There are persons who are well meaning but may suffer from issues like hoarding, etc, so I'm not making excuses, but it sounds like you ladies are upset, and may have every right to be, but when you say that someone starved his dogs to death, you are also opening yourselves up to a libel lawsuit. If you can't prove what he did, and he can prove that you are lying about him, he may have a case! I don't know the story, but people do get into financial straits, and feeding dogs can be expensive, depending on the circumstances. Do you have any real proof that he starved them, and what do you base that on? You would, in a court of law, have to have real proof showing he willingly neglected those animals. Ive seen women and men with psych issues who had more than 40 cats in their homes, and half of them were dead. She was guilty of neglect, but never faced a day in court, simply because she was suffering from a serious hoarding problem, and had been for more than 3 decades. Sometimes, people come and attack people when an animal dies, but what if they had come with love and attention, first, to help that man out, to help him buy dog food, or whatever it was he needed and what the dog's needed? Then it seems the community was at fault, and if they had been more compassionate, they could have come to the man's aid, thus to the aid of the dogs. The Buddha had an idea, its a philosophical idea, and it's called pramana. What it means in ordinary speech, is that we cannot know what something really is unless we are enlightened. "Strictly speaking, pramana (Tib. tshad ma) means "valid cognition." (Wikipedia) It means seeing to be able to see things as they really are. Now we may think we know him, or her, but then realize, after twenty years, that we didn't know s*$t about him, or her, and then the divorce lawyers start lining up. How can we really know anything when "things" always change? We can't, not unless we are awakened. Then we know. For example, when I lived in Frenchville, I would walk from the main road into the forest, to my shack. Sometimes, as the sun was going down, and the light would shine a muted orange on the hard and icy, dark purple slabs of snow, I would suddenly see a small bear, a cub, in the distant field. Or was it a mother bear, or worse, a full grown male, with cubs, lurking somewhere? My heart would throb and suddenly I would freeze; not breathing, not saying a thing, and I would stand really still, listening, waiting to see the bear move, but even though this event repeated itself, time and time again, I would eventually see that it wasn't a bear at all, and as I moved in closer, I would see my bear transformed into a dark blackish, purplish-blue tree. That's right, my "bear" was really a small fir tree. Perhaps it was the marijuana, mostly it was my fear of bears, my horrible-to-this-day-horror-of-bears. It took me close to 45 years to figure out why I've always been so scared of bears, but that's another story. So, my mind saw "bear" when in actuality, there was only a fir tree. Sometimes it's a snake in the road, that turns out the be a peace of bark. That is what the mind does to us, about our lovers, about our bosses, about our new boats, etc. We form ideas, we judge. We are slaves to the observances and the formulations—their unending, shapeless forms. Indeed, if like Keanu, we could take the red pill, we might "see" what the Buddha and many others saw, the truth. Because I'm not awake, I can't tell whether or not my neighbor loves his girlfriend, because I can't. Sometimes it seems as though he does, and then, when the yelling starts at 4:30 a.m., I tend to believe he is anything but a worthless MFPOS. That is really the same thing about the man whom you say "starved" his dogs to death. But we don't really know what happened, really, unless you were in that man's head, every hour of every day, and you actually knew what he was thinking, experiencing and doing, you can't know. Anything else is just a guess. Of course that doesn't mean we let him off the hook, but we approach the situation with love and compassion, and maybe we actually learn that maybe he too is starving, hasn't been eating, and that he couldnt afford the $500.00 a month veterinarian bills, or we learn that his wife just came out of the hospice, and died at home, two days before the first dog died. Pramana is a complicated way of looking and discussing reality. It is a theoretical and philosophical tool that allows us to come to every new situations and to approach it with love, not the love that happens after a night on the town, but the kind of love one has for a shivering foal, or the trout that we throw back, suddenly feeling in awe of the beauty before us. That is compassionate love. If and when we can muster that kind of love then we can approach someone, anyone, and ask them, "Hey, are you new to this neighborhood?" or, "Hi, my name is.... Can I help you?" If one Floridian had approached a teenager in that manner, maybe he would have had an easier exit, one in which he didn't feel as though he had to shoot his way out. Unless we really know someone, far from being enlightened, we must stand back and try not to judge someone. What we can do is gather the facts, and take it from there. When we come from a place of loving kindness, what the Tibetan Buddhist's call Bodhichitta, then we are at least able to get to know someone better, but we also get to know more of the big picture. Though some people are trained to read others, like police officers, teachers, and yes, even parents, most of us, unless we have psychic powers, or siddhis, as the Hindus call them, we cannot really know exactly what people are thinking. Far from being enlightened, the majority of us can still benefit by approaching all people with equality, on an even path, and in doing so, we actually get to know them better. That means we listen to them without judging them, and in doing so, we all tend to treat each other just a little bit better.

My Cousin

Lee is my cousin, I have known him for many years. He is not a monster he is stupid and full of pride. He should have asked us for help and he didn't. None of you know him. I am upset for what he did but for the record he never laid a hand on anyone and was never cruel to animals. He was starving and in a financial rut. His mother and father past recently and has not had an easy life. He messed up...I wish he had asked for help ...lee isn't a monster

Poor Dogs! :(

I believe that the police man just did what he needed to do. I also consider starving pitiful dogs a crime. I am truly wondering why there are individuals who can do that to animals especially to dogs, which I think, the most loving and loyal animals on Earth. Too bad! :(