AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s governor says he must defend his “ancient power” of clemency after his authority to pardon a dog set to be euthanized was questioned.

The Morning Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/2tECZJ9 ) that Republican Gov. Paul LePage sent a letter Monday to the attorney general asking to hire outside counsel. He wants to file an amicus brief in the dog’s case.

LePage’s pardon made a celebrity out of Dakota, who was ordered to be put down after attacking two dogs last year, killing one.

But prosecutors said the governor couldn’t prevent the dog from being euthanized.

A county prosecutor is trying to work out a deal with the dog’s current and previous owners that would avoid euthanasia. The attorney general’s office will wait until negotiations are over before responding to LePage.