BELFAST — Belfast Police responded to two calls at 284 Swan Lake Ave. in May alone regarding vicious behavior from Herb Staples’ three dogs, according to the department. In one, an officer shot one of the dogs while it was jumping toward him, trying to attack, but the dog survived police said. Charges have been filed against the owner.

The department has responded to several calls about vicious behavior from the dogs over the last few years, according to Officer Andrew Chapman. Recently, officers responded to an incident May 7 in which the dogs allegedly killed a neighbor’s cat. By the time officers responded to that call, the dogs had already been restrained.

Then the department responded to calls May 19 and May 20 when the dogs were on neighboring properties trying to attack neighbors, police said.

None of the neighbors, nor the officer, sustained injuries from the dogs, Chapman said. But he had to shoot at one of the dogs during the May 20 incident; that dog ran away while the other two continued to circle around him and a neighbor, trying to attack, he said, adding that noise from the taser had no effect on the dogs. Dogs usually run from taser noises.

Another neighbor familiar with the dogs was able to bring them under control, according to Chapman, who said the owner was refusing to come out of his camper to secure the dogs while they were acting viciously toward the officer.

Chapman said he has been to four dog-related calls at the property. Usually the animals get loose in the morning, but are secured by the time officers get there, he said.

The main house on the property was destroyed by a fire March 30, along with other structures and vehicles on the property. Chapman said the owner is trying to find a better housing situation for the dogs, which are usually tied up on the property but often get loose and go onto neighboring properties.

An investigation has been ongoing, Police Chief Robert Cormier said. The chief told The Republican Journal Tuesday, May 31, that  Staples has been charged with nuisance dog at large and keeping a dangerous dog. He is scheduled for arraignment July 1 on the charge stemming from the May 7 incident and on Aug. 12 for the May 20 incident.

Note: This story has been updated to correct some details, including that when the officer fired at the lunging dog, the bullet did strike the dog, which survived.