MFOA’s Legislative History Protecting Maine Companion Animals

Successful Maine Friends of Animals legislation for over 25 years protecting companion animals, particularly dogs          



1998:  Lobbied for legislation to prohibit the pari-mutual simulcast wagering of greyhound racing in Maine 

1999:  Passed successful legislation to increase for animal cruelty from a misdemeanor to a felony offense with provisions for increased fines and imprisonment 

2000:  Led a highly publicized effort that led to the discussion and action in revamping Maine’s Animal Welfare Program, removal of the director and state veterinarian, and the formation of the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC), making it far more responsive and effective in animal cruelty cases. MFOA director Robert Fisk served on AWAC for the first five years.

2003:  Passed legislation to require that dogs in an open vehicle, e.g., the back of a pick-up truck, be properly secured so that they cannot fall, jump or be thrown from the vehicle 

2003:  Three MFOA members formed ‘Spay Maine,’ a program designed to reduce cat and dog euthanasia, which was subsequently incorporated into the state Animal Welfare Program

2006:  After a two-year educational and media campaign to raise public awareness of Maine animal cruelty cases, MFOA passed the first-in-the-nation legislation addressing ‘dogs chained for life,’ establishing greater safety and health requirements for dogs left outside on a continuous basis 

2007:  Followed up on successful legislation with a statewide on-going program called ‘Dogs Chained for Life’ produced education materials, created a TV public service announcement, and organized a MFOA assistance line to help in securing the release of a DCFL

2007:  Sponsored legislation, which became law in 2011, requiring that a bittering agent be added to anti-freeze to help prevent poisoning of pets and wildlife

2010:  Developed a compressive program model ‘Pet Club’ for elementary and middle schools, teaching children about the responsibilities in the care and protection of companion animals

2011:  Sponsored successful legislation to provide greater response for first responders in protecting animals if the animal’s safety, health and well-being appears to be in danger, especially in the summer

2013:  Sponsored legislation to make post-conviction possession of animals a criminal offense to help deter repeat animal cruelty.  Bill passed in the House and Senate, but vetoed by Governor Lepage. In 2018 after a change in the administration, MFOA re-introduced the bill and it was passed and signed into law giving prosecutors better tools and remedies to efficiently enforce violation of pet ownership limitations  

2015:  Sponsored (in partnership with Maine Citizens Against Puppy Mills) first-in-the-nation “anti-puppy mill” legislation with an accompanying media campaign, to ban the retail sales of dogs and cats in Maine pet shops that often acquire their puppies and kittens from terribly inhumane out-of-state mass breeding facilities. The bill passed the House and Senate, but was vetoed by Governor LePage

2017: MFOA has continually supported the pet food surcharge and opposed repeated industry efforts to remove it. This bill that would remove the tax would have drastically reduced funding for Maine’s Animal Welfare low-cost spay / neuter program. The Committee not only defeated the bill, but renamed and amended it to increase the funding allocated for the program  

2018:  MFOA re-introduced similar anti-puppy mill legislation it sponsored in 2015, which was passed this time. 

2018:  Passed second-in-the-nation legislation known as “Franky’s Law,” which provides Maine courts and prosecutors another resource in handling more animal cruelty cases by utilizing volunteer law students and attorneys with an interest in animal law. MFOA developed an implementation plan and will organize the program’s operation 

2021  Passed pet custody legislation (5th in the nation). Bill provides judges with criteria in the consideration of the well-being of companion animals in determining custody in divorce proceedings. 

2023: Passed second-in-the nation legislation addressing animals abandoned by tenants. The statute allows landlords to require information from the tenant for an authorized person to remove and care for the animal in the case of death or disability. It also allows the landlord a process in removal and care of the animal. 



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