BELFAST — Herbert Staples Jr. accepted responsibility for two civil charges against him for keeping a dangerous dog and having a nuisance dog at large during a July 1 arraignment in Waldo County’s Unified Criminal Docket. The dogs are no longer in his possession.

At the court proceeding, Staples expressed regret about the situation and sympathy for his neighbor, whose cat was killed because one of his dogs attacked it. Since his house burned in a March 30 fire, he was not able to contain the dogs effectively all the time because the kennel burned, also, he said.

He was in the process of finding homes for his three Akita dogs when they got loose on at least three separate occasions in May, to which Belfast Police responded, he said. Neighbors were reporting that the dogs were on their properties acting aggressive, Belfast Police Officer Andrew Chapman previously told  The Republican Journal.

During a May 20 incident, one of the dogs lunged toward Chapman and the officer shot it through the head. The officer said he called out to Staples several time to restrain his dogs, which were acting violent toward him and one of Staples’ neighbors, but received no response.

The dog’s injury was not fatal and it ran back to Staples’ camper, Staples said. The former dog owner said he was in his camper toward the back of his property during the incident and never heard the officer call out to him.

Staples thinks the male dog, which was shot by the officer, was acting aggressively because he might have viewed the officer and neighbors as a threat, he said. One of the female dogs was in heat and it also might have been the reason for them acting vicious, noting that, in the nine years he had the dogs, he had never seen them attack anyone. “When dogs get in a pack they do stupid things, I think,” he said.

His neighbor’s cat had to be euthanized because of injuries from being attacked by one of the dogs on May 7 and he feels bad about that, he said. He has been expressing regret and sympathy to his neighbor about the incident but cannot take it back now. The dogs have been handed over to a woman who rescues dogs in Winslow, he said.

The judge accepted Staples’ plea but prolonged the case because of other charges he is facing related to the case. Judge Eric Walker scheduled an Aug. 12 court date to further address these charges and others stemming from the dogs. Staples was given fines amounting to $1,100 for the two charges.

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