A Smithfield man was arrested Sunday after allegedly shouting vulgarities at a police dog outside a police cruiser on East Pond Road and challenging an officer to a fight.

Jonathan Owen Damon, 22, of Smithfield, was charged with disorderly conduct, refusing to submit to arrest or detention and unlawful interference with a law enforcement dog, police said.

The charges came after police responded to a trespassing complaint on East Pond Road in Smithfield about 2 a.m. Sunday involving someone banging on a house door, said Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster.

Officer David Cole, who brought police dog Ruger, an 8-year-old Belgian malinois, found Damon outside the house and determined he was “extremely intoxicated,” Lancaster said. Damon does not live at the house and had no relationship to the people who live there.

Cole tried to find a ride for Damon, who started banging on the window of the police cruiser with Ruger on the other side.

“He was using a lot of vulgarity and taunting the dog,” Lancaster said. “He was screaming for the dog to get him, and the dog became extremely agitated. They’re trained to protect the handler and the vehicle, so it was very upsetting.”

Under Maine law, it’s illegal to torment or mistreat a law enforcement dog.

Damon also shouted vulgarities at the officer there and challenged him to a fight, Lancaster said. Damon is scheduled to appear in court April 15.

“Most people know that it’s not in their best interest to torment police dogs, because they are aggression-trained and they are very proficient at protecting themselves,” Lancaster said. “That’s not normal behavior, but the law is there because from time to time, people do torment these dogs.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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