The Story of How Maine’s Governor Got His Dog Will Make You Angry

A sordid tale.


On Tuesday, Maine Gov. Paul LePage posted a photo of the newest member of his family: a Jack Russell terrier mix named Veto—an apparent reference to the combative Republican’s record of rejecting legislation.

But for one woman, Veto’s adoption was unwelcome news. Heath Arsenault, a victim of sexual assault, told local news outlet NECN she had been hoping to adopt the animal herself as an emotional support dog. She said she was heartbroken when she learned that the shelter had bent the rules to allow the governor to adopt him before he became available to the public.

“I just saw the picture and I broke down,” Arsenault said. “He was just the right size for my apartment and he’s just really sweet.”

Unbeknownst to her, LePage had also seen the dog on the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society’s website. But unlike Arsenault, who planned to take off of work on Wednesday to ensure she was first in the adoption line, LePage dropped by the shelter a day early and snagged Veto before the general public had an opportunity to do so.

“It wasn’t about, ‘Oh, I wanted that dog and somebody else adopted it,” Arsenault, added. “It just felt like my happiness was taken away from me. Bettering my relationships—that was taken away from me.”

“No one should be given special privileges, even if they are the governor,” she told the Portland Press Herald.

The shelter has since admitted to breaking its own rules by giving LePage a chance to adopt the dog a day earlier than the public.

It remains to be seen if Veto will soon be moving to Washington, DC, as LePage is reportedly gunning for a position in the Trump administration.

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate