LEWISTON — A woman who had her heart set on taking home the same stray dog that Republican Gov. Paul LePage adopted is angry that the animal shelter broke its own rules by making the canine available to him a day before it was available to the public.

Donna Kincer, development director of the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society, acknowledged that the Jack Russell terrier mix was supposed to be made available a day later and on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The governor walks in your front door and it sort of shifts things a little,” Kincer told the Sun Journal.

Kincer said the shelter hoped for good publicity from the governor’s adoption Tuesday of the rescue dog from Louisiana.

LePage, Maine’s all-time veto champion, named the dog Veto and took it home to the Blaine House.

But what was a happy moment for the governor was heartbreaking for Heath Arsenault, who burst into tears when she saw that the governor had adopted the dog she’d had her eye on. She said she has been going through an emotionally difficult time and hoped the adoption would boost her spirits.


Arsenault, of Mexico, Maine, said she had already talked to staff about the adoption, and she had taken Wednesday off from work to be first in line. “I felt like they lied to me,” she said.

Meanwhile, the governor’s family had been looking for a new dog after the death of LePage’s previous pet, a Jack Russell named Baxter.

The governor’s family alerted him to the dog when they spotted it on the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society website, and the governor visited the shelter Tuesday after a lunch meeting in Poland, said LePage spokesman Peter Steele.

“He just stopped in to see the dog,” Steele said. “He was very pleasantly surprised when (the shelter) allowed him to take the dog home.”

Regardless of whether the governor knew about the policy, Arsenault believes the shelter was wrong to give him the dog he wanted while other people have to wait and stand in line.

“No one should be given special privileges, even if they are the governor,” she said.

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