March 29, 2020

Officials seize 14 dogs, other pets from home Jailed owner reportedly left animals without care

CALAIS – State animal control agents seized 14 dogs, five parakeets and one cat from the Princeton home of Brian and Donna Levi on Monday after a report that the unattended animals were without food and water and some of the dogs had broken windows attempting to get out of the house.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, in Calais in 4th District Court.

On Wednesday, Brian Levi entered a guilty plea in a separate incident to a single count of reckless conduct stemming from his swinging a logging tool at a deputy in 2005.

Superior Court Judge Joyce Wheeler sentenced Levi to 364 days in jail with all but 20 days suspended. He was taken directly to jail. Details of the incident were not immediately available.

Agent Chrissy Perry of the state’s Animal Welfare Program said she’d received a telephone call from a Levi relative who informed her that the Springer spaniel-type dogs had been left unattended without food and water. Brian Levi had been arrested Saturday night on a bail violation and was in jail; it was unclear where his wife was.

Perry said she contacted Levi at the Washington County Jail and he confirmed that most of the dogs were in crates in his residence.

“He stated that they had food and water when they left but he believes that they would not have any left by now and no one was caring for the animals,” Perry said in her report.

The agent said she then spoke with town Selectman John Papke, who said he and the town’s animal control officer had gone to the house earlier Monday because “a few of the dogs had broken windows to get outside.” They captured some of the dogs roaming outside the home.

Armed with a search warrant, Perry, Papke, the town’s animal control officer, Agent Tom Cox of the Animal Welfare Program and Trooper Kin James of the Maine State Police went to the residence.

The front door was locked, but there reportedly were three dogs outside behind the house inside a chain-link fence. The dogs ran inside the house through a basement door when officials tried to capture them.

Perry and Cox followed the dogs into the basement, but it was dark, the floor was flooded with water and the dogs had disappeared up a set of old stairs.

The agents returned to the front of the house and were able to open the door with a pry bar and log. They reportedly could hear dogs barking inside the house.

When they got inside, they allegedly found three dogs in an upstairs bedroom without food or water. The five parakeets were in one cage. The birds had a small amount of dirty water and residue of seed in the food dish, the report said.

On the first floor there were two female dogs and two puppies that ranged in age from 12 to 16 weeks old. Those dogs also were without food and water.

The room behind the kitchen had three adult male dogs. One of the male dogs tried to attack the two animal control agents, but he was captured with a control pole.

The cat was captured in a nearby barn.

“The dogs, cat and parakeets were without food and water for approximately 36 hours at the time of the seizure,” the report said. “There was no feces seen in the areas where the dogs were kept with the exception of one pile in the kitchen area. The dogs may have been eating their feces because of lack of food.”

The dogs were examined and most had eye infections. The two male dogs found outside had lacerations on their noses that appeared to be from trying to get out of the chain-link fence area.

One of the female dogs had an abscess on the side of her face. The animals are being kept at a shelter.

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