- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016

CANAAN, Maine (AP) - A Canaan, Maine, man was sentenced to four years in prison following charges that he set his neighbors’ house on fire, killing their seven pets.

Thirty-year-old Matthew Short pleaded guilty to arson, burglary and aggravated animal cruelty in response to charges stemming from the Sept. 21 fire. A judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison with all but four years suspended.

The fire also destroyed the neighbors’ mobile home.

The Morning Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1UpDXMe) reports the two victims believe the arson was a hate crime, although law enforcement hasn’t classified it as one. A police affidavit says Short made a statement to an acquaintance in September that he didn’t like the men because of their sexuality.

Short told police he set the fire over stolen money, which police say is unfounded.

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