Gov. Paul LePage is again interceding in the case of Dakota, a husky dog the governor pardoned in March after she was ordered euthanized by Maine District Court for multiple attacks.

LePage, seeking to defend his “ancient power of Executive Clemency” that is “very broad,” on Monday wrote a letter to Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills requesting permission to hire outside counsel to file an amicus brief in the case of “State of Maine v. Perry.”

Non-litigants can file amicus briefs when they have a strong interest in the subject of the case. They typically provide relevant information or additional arguments for the court to consider.

Adrienne Bennett, spokesperson for the governor, did not immediately return a call or email requesting comment.

Dakota, 4, was ordered euthanized this past winter after escaping confinement for the second time and attacking a dog belonging to a neighbor. The husky had already been declared a dangerous dog after getting loose in February 2016 and killing another dog, owned by the same neighbor.

In his letter, LePage references the pardon he issued for the dog earlier this year.


“As you know, the ancient power of Executive Clemency is very broad and is a power that the People of the State of Maine have vested in the Chief Executive. With this in mind, I strongly believe it is my constitutional duty and obligation to defend this important power in court,” he said.

Tim Feeley, spokesperson for the attorney general, said in an emailed statement that it would be “premature” to respond to the governor’s request at this time.

Dakota’s current owner, Linda Janeski, has filed an appeal to the state’s highest court — the Maine Supreme Judicial Court — but that has been stayed by continued negotiations at the District Court level.

The attorney general will wait to respond to the governor’s request until that negotiation is finished.

The governor’s letter says LePage plans to hire Catherine Connors of Pierce Atwood, a Portland law firm, to submit the brief. He adds that the work shouldn’t cost Maine taxpayers — though it’s unclear whether Connors, who refused to comment, has agreed to do the work for free.

The governor heard about Dakota’s case from a board member of the Humane Society Waterville Area.


Animal control picked up Dakota as a stray this past February and brought her to the shelter, where she was adopted out to Linda Janeski, of Winslow, who has said she was unaware of the dog’s court date. When the police came to take Dakota for euthanization, Janeski filed an injunction to save her.

Janeski’s lawyer, Bonnie Martinolich, did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

Meanwhile, attorneys David J. Bobrow and Darrick Banda had worked out a deal for previous owner Matthew Perry with Kennebec District Attorney Maeghan Maloney to send the husky to an animal rescue in New Hampshire. Dakota would have been kept with other large dogs, trained and kept away from small children.

The initial proposal received push-back from Janeski, who said she wanted to get a chance to defend Dakota in court.

Now, Maloney said all parties appear to be close to reaching a settlement.

“We have been exchanging settlement proposals,” she said on the phone Monday. There is one proposal that all parties seem to agree on, she said. While she said it’s “similar” to the original New Hampshire proposal, she didn’t want to release details before the parties reach a consensus.


If all of the parties involved agree — Maloney, Perry and his lawyers, and Janeski and her lawyer — then the appeal would be unnecessary.

A hearing is scheduled for Monday, July 24, at 1:30 p.m. at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.

When asked what her reaction was to LePage’s request to file a brief, Maloney said that “at this point, for me to say anything more I think could interfere with people coming to an agreement. We’re at a place that I think is positive.”

This is the first time a governor has asked to file a brief in one of her cases, she said.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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