Man allegedly punches police dog after accident in Baldwin

Posted June 19, 2012, at 1:51 p.m.

BALDWIN, Maine — A Cumberland County man who left the scene of an accident faces multiple charges after he allegedly punched a police dog on Monday, according to police.

Howard Liberty, 45, lost control of his pickup truck while turning onto Graffam Road just after 7:30 p.m., the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said in a release. The pickup rolled for 500 feet before coming to a stop.

Liberty fled the scene, according to the release, leaving two injured passengers to fend for themselves. After rescue workers tried to find him, a police canine named Paco joined the search.

Liberty was eventually found but he refused to cooperate, punching Paco. The dog bit the suspect in the thigh and Liberty surrendered, police said.

Liberty is facing charges of leaving the scene of an accident, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon — his pickup — assault on a police dog and refusing to submit to arrest, according to the release.

The truck’s passengers, Stoy Day, 45, of Sanford and Daniel Ford, 43, of West Baldwin were treated for minor injuries. The police dog was not seriously hurt.

Police believe speed and alcohol were factors and more charges against Liberty are pending.