January 18, 2022

Police dog liability concerns Maine county

PORTLAND – Three police dogs that work for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department are being confined to their kennels while off duty.

The issue of liability arose when Jag, a German shepherd, bit a newspaper carrier in Auburn in 2006, leading to a $7,500 claim against the dog’s handler. The deputy was shocked to learn that the county insurer and his own insurer wouldn’t cover the claim.

Sheriff Mark Dion has ordered the county’s patrol dogs to be placed in professional kennels while off duty until the liability issue is resolved.

The handlers who rely on the bond with their dogs aren’t happy. Sgt. Stephen Lathrop says it’s an “emergency” that needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

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