Island police chief resigns after his canine kills smaller dog

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 28, 2012, at 1:05 p.m.

SWAN’S ISLAND, Maine — After being told not to bring his dog to work anymore, this island’s police chief has verbally tendered his resignation, according to a local official.

The reason town officials told Police Chief Jerry Michaud not to bring his Rottweiler to work is because, on Oct. 30, the dog attacked and killed a smaller dog on Mount Desert Island.

Dexter Lee, a Swan’s Island selectman, said Tuesday that Michaud lives in the Mount Desert village of Hall Quarry but stays on Swan’s Island five nights a week in an upstairs apartment in the town office building. For a few years now Michaud has been bringing his dog out to Swan’s Island, which has about 350 year-round residents, keeping it with him in the apartment at night and taking it with him in the police cruiser out on patrol, Lee said.

Some residents on Swan’s Island have been uneasy about the dog, according to Lee. He said that, to his knowledge, the dog never has bitten anyone, but it has snapped at people.

“You had to be careful approaching it,” Lee said.

After the Rottweiler attacked and killed a papillon that belonged to one of Michaud’s Mount Desert neighbors, Swan’s Island officials felt it confirmed some of their fears, according to Lee. They told Michaud that, next time he came out to the island for work, he had to leave the dog at home.

“He said, ‘If the dog has to go, then I’m going, too,’” Lee said.

Michaud told selectmen that his last day on the job would be Dec. 31, according to Lee.

Attempts this week to contact Michaud have been unsuccessful.

According to the police chief in Mount Desert, Michaud is not going to face any charges as a result of the Oct. 30 dog attack.

James Willis said Wednesday that he and Sgt. Kevin Edgecomb, who serves as Mount Desert’s animal control officer, looked into the matter. He said the town does not have its own dangerous dog ordinance and so relies on state law about such complaints. State law says that anyone who wants to file a dangerous dog complaint has to do so within 30 days of an alleged incident. As of Wednesday — 29 days later — no such complaint had been filed or was expected, Willis added.

The Mount Desert police chief said that Michaud apparently has given the Rottweiler to the Hancock County SPCA in Trenton, which plans to find a new home for the dog.

“We did some follow-up work and confirmed that,” Willis said. “We didn’t feel there was any future danger.”

Lee said that even though Michaud has given his dog to the shelter, he still plans to leave the post at the end of December. Swan’s Island has received some inquiries about the police chief opening but has not yet advertised it, Lee said.

Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/28/news/hancock/island-police-chief-resigns-after-his-canine-kills-smaller-dog/ printed on August 22, 2014