BELFAST — Herbert Staples Jr. accepted a dog at large charge and he pleaded guilty to a burn without a permit charge Sept. 27 for several incidents earlier this year, including one where part of his property burned.

On March 30 there was a fire on Staples’ 284 Swan Lake Avenue property which destroyed two campers, a home structure and two vehicles. It also burned down some of his yard and started to move back toward the woods.

There were also three incidents in May regarding Staples’ three Aketa dogs that got loose and were acting vicious toward neighbors, Belfast Police Officer Andrew Chapman said in a June interview with The Republican Journal.

One of the dogs allegedly killed a neighbor’s cat in early May, he said. The officer had to shoot one of the dogs as it was lunging toward him, the dog survived. The officer said he was calling out to Staples to calm his dogs but he never came out of the camper on his property. A neighbor who knew the dogs was able to bring them under control.

Those dogs have since been rehomed to a rescue in Winslow, Herb said during a July 1 arraignment where he accepted responsibility for two other charges, keeping a dangerous dog and having a nuisance dog at large.

During the incident at his home where one of the dogs was shot, he said he was sleeping in a camper at the back of his property and did not hear 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.

He expressed sympathy for his neighbor’s cat, which had to be euthanized after allegedly being attacked by one of his dogs in early May.

Staples was ordered to pay $1,430 in fines and related surcharges, according to court documents.

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