A dog scheduled to be euthanized for its violent past has been saved by Maine’s governor, after he issued a pardon for the canine.
On Thursday, Gov. Paul LePage spared the life of Dakota, a female Husky, that was accused of mauling two dogs last year.
Local media reports that Dakota attacked and killed a neighbour’s dog while it was allowed to run around unleashed.
A Kennebec County judge labelled Dakota a dangerous dog and ordered the owner to secure her.
But earlier this year, Dakota got loose again and attacked another dog owned by the same neighbour.
On behalf of the victims, Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney called Dakota “extremely dangerous” and pushed for Dakota to be put down.
On March 21, a judge ordered Dakota to be euthanized for the attacks.
In the time between the second attack and the judge’s decision, Dakota’s original owner gave her to an extended family member. The new owner allowed Dakota to run loose, resulting in the dog being picked up by an animal control officer on Feb. 8.
Dakota was supposed to be held at a Humane Society shelter in Waterville, pending the outcome of the second case.
“While at the shelter she was a model resident, extremely friendly, social with other dogs, and easy for staff to handle,” Humane Society director Lisa Smith said.
Prior to the March 21 decision, the shelter approved the adoption of Dakota by a new family.
Maloney argued the adoption violated a court order that the dog be held.
But in a letter written by the shelter’s director, Lisa Smith, “the shelter could re-home the dog as long as the new owner or placement withheld the original dangerous dog order of confinement.”
The saga took another turn when LePage’s office was persuaded to intervene when Smith brought the case to his attention.
In a statement released Thursday, LePage said he reviewed the facts of the case and believed the dog should be provided a full pardon.
Mahoney told Bangor Daily News that euthanization was “the correct decision” and urged LePage to hear from the victims who lost their dog.
“I also think that if the governor could hear from the victim, he would see this case differently,” she said. “He’s only heard from one side and hearing the victim’s story, it is chilling.”
Smith argued that the new owner had “not been given due process” and wasn’t aware of the March 21 ruling.
“I think people here are sort of riding a roller coaster of emotion because a time of sorrow is a time of suspense is a time of happiness,” Smith told WGME. “So, in dealing with animals they don’t know human laws and regulations they have to try to conform to, so it’s our job as responsible pet owners to make sure that happens.”
There remains confusion whether LePage has the constitutional power to issue an animal a pardon, something Mahoney is reviewing.
A hearing on the fate of Dakota was scheduled for today in Augusta District Court.