State Police Say Taos County, New Mexico Man Sets Fire To House, Kills 12 Dogs

TAOS, N.M. (AP) -- A Taos County man set fire to his home, killing 12 of his dogs, after officers said they tried to contact him about suspected marijuana on his property.

Dean Maher, 47, also known as Dean Stahl, was arrested and charged with 11 counts of extreme cruelty to animals and tampering with evidence, state police said. He was booked into the Taos County Detention Center.

Narcotics agents saw what appeared to be marijuana being grown on six properties in the area, 20 miles northwest of Taos, said state police Lt. Jimmy Glascock.

Agents on Monday tried to make contact with Maher, who was uncooperative, Glascock said.

Maher went into his home with what appeared to be a fuel can, officers said.

Smoke and flames then erupted from the home, forcing him out and into the hands of officers, state police said.

Agents seized about 145 marijuana plants from the other five properties, Glascock said.

Robert Gordon, 58, of Arroyo Seco, and David Tweedy, 63, of El Prado, were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, state police said.