Augusta Watch 2009

Bills affecting animals in the 123rd Legislative Session

 

LD 758 “An Act to Protect Household Pets and other Animals from Poisoning” Sponsored by Rep. Emily Ann Cain of Orono Requires manufacturers of anti-freeze or engine coolant to add a bittering agent to the product to make it unpalatable. Anti-freeze is poisonous and without a bittering agent it is sweet tasting and attractive to pets and small animals. Even small amounts can be fatal. The bill was passed by the legislature, but will not take effect until three other northeastern states have passed a similar law. 

LD 1185 “An Act to Protect Dogs Tied Outside” Sponsored by Rep. Peggy Pendleton of Scarborough This bill was a follow up to the first-in-the nation legislation in 2005 specifically addressing dogs left outside on a continuous basis. See “Dogs Chained for Life” campaign. It created increased standards as to what is required if you are to leave a dog outside continuously. LD 1185 was follow up legislation that added protections and prohibited the of restraining a dog in a way that causes the dog pain, injury or leaves the animal at risk of being entangled without the ability to reach food, water and shelter. The bill targeted getting such dogs taken off tether for at least 3 hours every 24-hour period. Unfortunately this follow-up legislation did not pass. 

LD 1851 “An Act to Prevent Abuse of Pet Ownership” Sponsored by Rep. Elaine Makas of Lewiston Would have repealed a section of Maine’s Animal Welfare Laws that allows an owner to shoot his or her own dog or cat. MFOA believes that when the decision is appropriate to end a dog’s or cat’s life, the animal should be euthanized by a licensed veterinarian. The existing law requires that death must be instantaneous and that the animal must not suffer. MFOA believes that the shooting often does not ensure instantaneous death and suffering occurs. It also sends the wrong message that dogs and cats are just property. The bill and repeal did not pass. 

LD 380 “An Act to Protect the Public from Dangerous Dogs” This bill took effect on May 25, 2007. It provides that, if a court finds that a dog is dangerous as defined in the statute, the court shall order the dog confined to a “secure enclosure,” which must meet the proper requirements set forth in the statute. In addition, the court may order the dog or dogs permanently identified (tattoo, microchip etc.), may order the owner to provide identifying information, including a photograph, to the local animal control officer, and order other dogs owned or kept on the premises also confined in a secure enclosure. 

LD 1615 “An Act to Amend the Animal Welfare Laws” This was the bill submitted by the Animal Welfare Program and made many changes to the laws effective September 20, 2007. The changes include a requirement that animal shelters hold homeless cats for a minimum of 48 hours, a requirement for anyone who advertises for sale, sells or exchanges for value more than one cat or dog in a 12-month period to obtain a vendor’s license, metal barrels are no longer acceptable as shelter for dogs, and animal shelters, sanctuaries and rescue groups are required to spay or neuter cats and dogs before adoption or make formal arrangements for spay and neuter within 30 days of adoption. 

L.R. 2093 Joint Resolution Calling on the Government of Canada to End its Sanctioning of the Annual Seal Pup Hunt 

L.R. 2170 An Act Concerning Recreational and Commercial Trapping MFOA bill withdrawn to support a separate bear trapping bill. 

LD 680 “An Act to Increase Funding for the Spaying and Neutering of Companion Animals” As the title indicates, this bill would have increased the funding for Help Fix ME program by allocating a larger portion of the pet food registration fee to the program. Unfortunately, this bill did not pass the Appropriations Committee in January 2008.

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