WATERVILLE — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court released its decision around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday upholding an order to euthanize two pit bulls declared dangerous in court, and minutes later they reportedly got loose.

Their owner, Danielle Jones, had been allowed by the Humane Society Waterville Area to take the two dogs for a walk between 12:30 and 1 p.m. Tuesday, according to police. She returned to the shelter around 1 p.m. to tell officials there that the two dogs had gotten loose and run off into the woods.

The pit bulls, named Bentley and Kole, were ordered euthanized after attacking a woman, Sharron Carey, and her dog, Fergie Rose, who were walking on Aug. 30, 2016, near Jones’ home in Winslow. The dogs killed the 10-month-old Boston terrier and seriously injured Carey.

Police initially had trouble contacting Jones, but they found her around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at her home. Jones handed the detective a slip of paper that said “direct all questions to my attorney” and refused to speak further, according to Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey.

Winslow police Chief Shawn O’Leary said the incident seems “suspicious, to say the least.”

He’s also disappointed in the animal shelter staff for apparently allowing Jones to take the dogs out.

“I’m completely dumbfounded why the director would allow them to take the dogs off the property,” O’Leary said. “We feel that this is a serious issue, that two dangerous dogs are now out and about and … you know, this is putting a lot of resources into dealing with this situation. … I’m very disappointed in the management.”

Shelter Director Lisa Smith did not return a phone or text message seeking comment and was not at the shelter late Wednesday afternoon.

Jones couldn’t be reached by the Morning Sentinel at her business, The Muddy Paw Grooming Spa on Bay Street in Winslow, on which a sign said it was closed Wednesday.

The Morning Sentinel also attempted to reach Jones on Wednesday afternoon at her residence on Lucille Avenue, but no one answered the door. A number of dogs could be heard barking loudly within the house once the door was knocked on, though, and a woman wearing a black shirt that said “pit bull” later walked through the door and ignored a request for comment.

Police said they don’t know if Jones owned other dogs besides Bentley and Kole.

A judge in Augusta found that Jones had committed two civil violations of keeping a dangerous dog and ordered them both euthanized within 30 days. The order was stayed pending an appeal made by Jones, and the dogs have been held at the Waterville animal shelter at 100 Webb Road.

On Tuesday, the state’s highest court upheld the death ruling in the dogs’ case. In its decision upholding the euthanasia order, the Supreme Court said that “competent evidence in the record” supported the finding that the dogs had injured a person seriously.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said Tuesday the case was “about community safety. It’s about feeling safe to walk the sidewalks of our neighborhoods.”

Winslow police received news that the euthanization order was upheld about 12:40 p.m. Tuesday, O’Leary said, and contacted the shelter multiple times afterward about paperwork. But it wasn’t until the evening that the shelter told them that the dogs had gotten loose earlier in the day.

O’Leary said he’s disappointed in the shelter management, which didn’t tell police about the disappearance until 6:45 p.m. Tuesday — hours after the dogs were gone.

“That makes me very concerned and upset,” O’Leary said Wednesday.

Sharron Carey’s husband, Bill Carey, said by phone Wednesday evening they can’t comment on the latest incident as they pursue a civil lawsuit. Sharron Carey has filed a civil lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court against Jones and the dogs’ co-owner, Brandon Ross, as well as against Danielle Doyon, of Waterville, owner of the home on Lucille Street.

Carey’s attorney, Steve Blackwell, of Lanham, Blackwell and Baber in Bangor, said the current issue is for law enforcement to handle, but said that Sharron Carey is the victim and didn’t want the dogs to harm anyone else.

“It’s very sad and no one wins here,” Blackwell said, adding that there may be some changes “in the way things are handled” at the shelter.

Maloney, the district attorney, said Wednesday that she’s interested in what the investigation finds, but she declined to comment on whether the latest incident could result in criminal charges. Asked about issues concerning the shelter and the timeline of the dogs’ disappearances, she said, “Those are the questions that I want to have answered.”

Jones told shelter workers that the dogs broke free while she was walking them and ran into the nearby woods, according to Massey.

The dogs still would have their leashes and harnesses dangling from their collars, Jones reportedly told the animal shelter, but police have yet to hear any reports of loose dogs dragging their leashes.

“I really don’t know where the dogs are,” Massey said. “If they are running loose, I certainly would have some concerns.”

Another high-profile dangerous dog, Dakota the husky, also was held at the Humane Society Waterville Area shelter while the case was resolved. Ultimately, Dakota was spared a euthanasia order after a court-ordered settlement sent the dog to live at least initially at a veterinary hospital with a boarding kennel and be trained by a canine behavior expert.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

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Twitter: @madelinestamour