MFOA’s Pet Custody bill passes in the House and Senate! Update (6/20) LD 535 Becomes Law!

Maine Friends of Animals

Maine Pet Custody Bill

L.D. 535 - Pet Custody bill passed the House and Senate! Update: June,21, 2020 LD 535 becomes law!

Incredible news! L.D. 535, An Act to Provide for the Well-Being of Companion Animals Upon the Dissolution of Marriage, has passed the Maine House and Senate and now awaits the Governor’s signature!

In Maine, marriage dissolution is based on traditional property classifications which means that existing state law provides no special provisions for pets.  During divorce proceedings, companion animals are currently considered in the same light as inanimate objects, such as a chair or lawnmower.

Once signed into law, L.D 535 will require judges in divorce proceedings to stop considering pets as inanimate objects and instead employ reasonable and helpful criteria in determining the long term well-being of the companion animal when deciding placement, similar to standards applied in child-custody cases.  This humane approach protects both animals and their humans, especially in situations involving domestic violence.

Alaska, Illinois, California and New Hampshire have passed a similar legislation. Because of your advocacy, Maine is very close to following suit. Your voices create positive change for the animals!  Thank you!

Special thanks to Maine Animal Coalition for partnering with MFOA on this important bill.

Much gratitude to L.D. 535’s lead sponsor, Senator Benjamin CHIPMAN of Portland and co-sponsors: Senator Donna BAILEY of York, Senator Richard BENNETT of Oxford, Senator Ned CLAXTON of Androscoggin, Representative Kristen CLOUTIER of Lewiston, Representative Janice DODGE of Belfast, Representative Thom HARNETT of Gardiner, Representative David McCREA of Fort Fairfield, for taking a stand for Maine’s animals.


Additional Animal Welfare Bills of Interest (2020)

L.D. 883 - “An Act To Protect Endangered Species Whose Life Cycles Include Maine Land or Waters.”  
Maine is one of only 10 U.S. states that does not mirror at the state-level the statutory protection of endangered or threatened species that are listed at a federal level under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.  Of the presently 16 federally-listed threatened and endangered species found in Maine, six are not listed at the state level including the Canada lynx, blue whale, red knot, green turtle, Atlantic salmon (Maine’s state fish), and Atlantic sturgeon.   This lack of uniform compliance results in inconsistent protection for endangered and threatened species on a local level. If passed, L.D. 883 will close this loophole in Maine to help to bring the above six (and other species) back from the brink of extinction.  

L.D. 883  passed committee on a divided report.  It may be voted on in the legislature  as early as today (6/14/21). Please contact your legislators today to ask that they support endangered species by voting in favor of the “Ought to Pass as Amended” Report (Minority Report) for L.D. 883.

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L.D. 1702, L.D. 983L.D. 687 - Land for Maine’s Future Bond Bills.
If passed as written, each of the three proposed Land for Maine’s Future bond bills will require hunting, trapping and fishing access on all conservation land purchased with these funds (funds that all Maine residents will repay). 

Please contact the members of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee today to ask that they restore fairness, safety and local control to the Land for Maine’s Future Program by removing the four words “Hunting, fishing, trapping and” from section 5.1.A of L.D. 1702, L.D. 983 and L.D. 687. It is important to note that this amendment will not ban these activities from LMF land but would allow for true conservation under the LMF program by permitting land use decisions concerning all recreational activities to be managed at a local level, based on the day-to-day conservation and safety needs of the land in question. 

To learn more about this special interest clause, read:Commentary: Land for Maine’s Future bills are flawed but can be fixed, Portland Press Herald, 6/3/2012.



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