WEST PARIS, Maine — There is no evidence that a man charged with stealing a local woman’s dog is involved in other missing dogs, according to the detective investigating the case.
Nicholas P. Libby, 24, of West Paris was arrested Wednesday and charged with theft and violation of a bail condition.
Libby’s bail was set Thursday at $500 cash, or $250 cash with a Maine Pretrial Services contract. As of Thursday evening, he was still in jail. He is due in court on Nov. 22.
Libby faces charges of theft and violating a court agreement that he not be involved in criminal activity.
Libby pleaded guilty to domestic violence assault last year for hitting his 11-week-old daughter. He was ordered to undergo anger management training and take parenting classes. The case was filed on condition that it would be dismissed if he stayed out of trouble for a certain period of time.
According to an arrest report, Libby told police he had seen the dog loose on High Street at around 9 a.m. Monday and took it home.
Detective Thomas Harriman of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office said there’s “not a whole lot of information to substantiate stolen dogs or dogfighting” in the area. He said that while he wouldn’t be surprised if dogfighting was happening locally, the evidence so far doesn’t support it.
“No new information has surfaced to substantiate that,” Harriman said. He said he’s looking into claims that dogs were stolen from lawns by people driving trucks or minivans.
He said Libby’s case is still under investigation.
Harriman said he received a tip that Libby had a dog that matched the description of Scarlett, an American bulldog reported stolen in West Paris.
According to his report, Harriman went to Libby’s home on Greenwood Street, knocked on the door and found no one home. However, through the window, a white dog that matched the missing dog’s description was visible. He took pictures of the dog, which Deputy Josh Wyman showed to the dog’s owner, Louisa Westleigh.
Westleigh identified the dog as hers, the report said. Later, Harriman watched Libby and his wife drive by and pulled them over. Libby agreed to go back to his home with Harriman to discuss the dog. He said he found the dog Monday morning running in traffic.
According to the report, Libby told Harriman he didn’t report the dog to police. He told Harriman he was aware that dogs had been reported missing in the area.
The only other dog in the house was Libby’s. Harriman said Libby had records showing he owned the dog for more than a year.
According to Animal Control Officer Ozzie Hart, about 20 dogs have been reported missing this year. In some cases, witnesses say they have seen people in a truck or minivan stopping and taking dogs. One couple left their dog in the car while they ran into a gas station and it was missing when they returned.
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