MFOA's LD 1442 ("Franky's Law") & LD 1311 (Puppy Mill Bill") become law!

These latest wins create an exciting legislative trifecta for the 129th session where three out of four of MFOA’s bills have passed into law!  

 

We are thrilled to share that today, MFOA’s two remaining bills.L.D. 1442 “An Act to Provide for Court Appointed Advocates for Justice in Animal Cruelty Cases” (a.k.a “Franky’s Law”)  and L.D. 1311 “An Act Regarding the Sale of Dogs and Cats at Pet Shops” officially become Maine law. 

 

Overview of MFOA bills passed into law 2019-2020

1) L.D. 64. “An Act To Make Post-conviction Possession of Animals by Certain Persons a Criminal Offense” .

L.D. 64 is an amended version of legislation that MFOA passed in 2013  by the House and Senate, but was vetoed by the previous Governor. This legislation addresses the future ownership of animals as a result of an animal cruelty conviction, specifically the mandatory prohibition for higher levels of animal cruelty, including when appropriate, prohibition of owning and having contact with animals, clear time limits, and increased penalties for violations.  Importantly, this law makes violation of an ownership ban a Class D crime  (as opposed to a violation of court order) which will allow for easier and faster intervention by authorities in the instance that a breach of a ban on animal ownership occurs.

2) L.D. 1311 “An Act Regarding the Sale of Dogs and Cats at Pet Shops”

L.D. 1311 is an amended version of a MFOA puppy mill bill that passed in 2015 and would have become first-in-the-nation legislation, but was vetoed by the former Governor. It addresses “puppy and kitten mill” sourced animals and pet shops that sell those animals. 

Unfortunately, the bill was amended to grandfather the remaining three shops in Maine that still sell dogs and cats. However, business ownership may not be transferred outside of immediate family members, unless the sale of dogs and cats ceases – meaning eventually Maine will implement a complete ban.  We are doing our part to send a message that Maine takes animal cruelty seriously and will not facilitate large scale breeding facilities where animals are treated as a commodity. 

3) L.D. 1442 “An Act to Provide for Court Appointed Advocates for Justice in Animal Cruelty Cases” aka “Franky’s Law”

L.D. 1442, nicknamed “Franky’s Law” in memory of Franky the pug who was kidnapped, tortured and killed in Winter Harbor, ME, provides Maine courts, prosecutors and defendants with a free resource to help handle animal cruelty cases through the assistance of volunteer attorneys and law students with an interest in animal law. Low priority animal cruelty cases that are often dismissed or plead out can now be more thoroughly and vigorously pursued.  

The legislation is accompanied with an implementation plan modified from similar successful legislation in Connecticut.  MFOA will administer the implementation of the program. 

Thank you to all who supported this effort!

Our key sponsors:

Representative Dale Denno, Cumberland, L.D. 1442.
Dale Denno was our original lead sponsor for Franky’s Law.  Sadly, he passed away prior to the end of the legislative session.  Rep. Denno was a strong advocate of this bill and even when cancer prevented him from working, he continued to support Franky’s Law, to the very end.

Representative Donna Bailey, Saco, L.D. 64 and L.D. 1442
We are so thankful to Representative Donna Bailey of Saco for not only championing L.D. 64, but for also stepping up to be the lead sponsor for L.D. 1442 after Dale Denno’s passing.  In addition to being a dedicated legislator and animal lover, Rep. Bailey is also a lawyer, making her a perfect advocate for both L.D. 64 and L.D. 1442.

Senator Ben Chipman, Cumberland, L.D. 1311 (sponsor), L.D. 1442 (co-sponsor)
Senator Chipman is a tireless advocate for both animals and the humans who love them.  We could not ask for a better lead sponsor for our puppy mill bill!  Thank you Senator Chipman.

Senator Michael Carpenter, Aroostook, L.D.1442 & L.D. 1311 (co-sponsor).  
We are grateful for the support provided by seasoned Senator and former Maine Attorney General, Michael Carpenter on both Franky’s Law and our Puppy Mill bill  His understanding of the law, coupled with his love for animals, made a huge difference.

Please reach out to our amazing sponsors Rep. Donna Bailey (L.D. 64 and L.D. 1442) and Sen. Ben Chipman (L.D. 1311) as well as Sen. Michael Carpenter(L.D. 1442 & L.D. 1311) to give them a well-deserved “thank you.”  The level of commitment each sponsor can give to a bill varies considerably, but Rep. Bailey and Sen.Chipman and Carpenter talked the talk and walked the walk on these and other pieces of animal protection legislation. 

Additional gratitude to:

State Representative Diana Urban (CT), Jessica Rubin, Elizabeth Abbe and Desmond’s Army - who created and passed “Desmond’s Law” in CT in 2016 that Franky’s Law was modeled after.  They have supported our efforts to pass Franky’s Law from day one, and worked tirelessly to help us get this bill across the finish line.

Justice for Franky - for keeping Franky’s case alive and for making sure something positive resulted from Franky’s horrific death.

Katie Hansberry,  Maine Senior State Director, Humane Society of United States -  for her hard work in supporting passage of our bill, L.D. 1311.  Katie has fought along side of us on the pet shop bill for two attempts (2015 and 2019).  We are grateful to have her lobbying in Augusta for the animals!

MFOA advocates and supporters.  None of this could be possible without YOU!  Thank you all for writing emails, making phone calls, attending protests, and showing up at public hearings!  Your voices do matter!  You make the difference between a bill dying or being passed.  We appreciate each and every one of you for taking a stand on behalf of Maine animals!

                                               DONATE TODAY!

As you know these successes don’t just happen. It takes hard work and funds to support this work. We cannot do it without your donations. If we are to continue our legislative agenda your financial support is critical.  Please donate today so we can continue to make positive change for Maine’s animals!

Donate online or mail your needed and greatly appreciated contribution to MFOA, 190 US Route 1, Falmouth, ME 04105.

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