Husky pardoned by LePage may become a sled dog

Posted May 18, 2017, at 8:14 p.m.
Last modified May 19, 2017, at 7:20 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The husky dog recently granted a pardon by Gov. Paul LePage and slated for euthanasia could instead be sent out of state to become a sled dog, the Morning Sentinel reported Thursday evening.

The news organization said that Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney filed a motion that would let her propose sending Dakota, a 4-year-old female husky, to an animal rescue program in New Hampshire instead of being euthanized.

The motion is the result of an agreement reached by the state prosecutor, the victim and Dakota’s previous owner.

Waterville District Court Judge Valerie Stanfill in March ordered that Dakota be euthanized after it attacked a small dog in February for the second time in less than a year.

The first dog, a 12-pound shih tzu terrier named Zoe, was attacked and killed in May, according to the Kennebec County district attorney’s office. The second dog — a pug named Bruce Wayne — was bitten on the neck, but not harmed.

Due to a miscommunication between the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office and the Humane Society Waterville Area, where Dakota was being held, the dog was adopted on March 18, three days before Stanfill issued the kill order.

Attorneys for Linda Janeski, Dakota’s most recent owner, filed a motion last month asking that the judge reverse her order that the dog be euthanized by March 23. Stanfill stayed that order.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage pushed the 4-year-old canine into the national spotlight on March 30 when he issued the pardon, calling the dog a “model resident, extremely friendly, social with other dogs and easy for staff to handle.”

Maloney argued in a motion filed last month that the governor did not have the authority to pardon Dakota, since the dog was never convicted of a crime.

And even if LePage did have the power, he did not follow the procedures required to issue one, Maloney said.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s animal welfare program came to the defense of the dog, saying she is now less dangerous, and the order calling for her euthanization should be set aside.

Bangor Daily News writer Judy Harrison contributed to this report.

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