Sheriff pledges help with dogs

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LIVERMORE – They cannot make the past go away but they can control what happens in the future, Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins told people who have concerns about dangerous dogs.

Desjardins offered his department’s support and to help get Animal Control Officer Wayne Atwood more training on dog laws. He also said the department would help Atwood build stronger court cases – with state animal welfare representatives’ assistance – against dog owners who continually ignore state laws.

Desjardins and Lt. Glenn Holt met with Livermore’s Board of Selectpersons and members of the public to address concerns about dogs that repeatedly maim or kill livestock in town.

There have been several cases of livestock and poultry being attacked by pit bulls. One of those cases involving Peter Drown Jr., 40, is going to 8th District Court at 8 a.m. Monday, July 23, in Lewiston.

Two of Drown’s deceased dogs are accused of killing two goats and injuring nine others in November 2006. Goat owner Tammy Sanborn shot the dogs as they ran from the barn.

Drown denied the charges and claims it was the animal owner and the animals’ fault that his dogs went near them.

In a separate matter, Drown also pleaded not guilty earlier this year in court to a charge of being an owner or keeper of a dangerous dog after another of his dogs was accused of biting a woman at Drown’s home at 137 Goding Road in January. That case also will be heard Monday.

Drown had previously paid more than $700 in fines and surcharges in 2006 for his dogs’ attacks on neighbors’ animals and poultry, including the Sanborns.

Desjardins said citing an owner for a dog running at large is not going to prevent attacks on livestock.

They need to be more aggressive in cases like this, he said.

Desjardins said his department is there to help but needs people willing to sign complaints and testify in court. He said there is a process to follow to build a case.

If someone makes threats, document it and call police, he said. There are gradual steps that could be taken, he said.

Yes, he agreed that his department is 40 minutes away a lot of the times but deputies will do what they can.

He also told Atwood that even if it’s not his department’s zone that month, he’ll try to get someone up to help him out if he needs to go to an aggressive dog owner’s residence.

Resident Lisa Holt said she and her husband have both filed complaints.

“I’ve had enough,” Holt said, and if an animal or someone gets hurt in the future due the dogs and nothing is done about it, she’ll be filing a lawsuit that could include the town.

State animal welfare representative Sue Metzger said people need to stand behind their beliefs and get the Legislature to change the laws.

Sanborn’s daughter, Anna, did just that this year and legislators strengthened the law against dangerous dogs.

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