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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

MFOA in Action / Timeline Print E-mail
1997 Robert Fisk, Jr. founds Maine Friends of Animals (MFOA) and opens office in Falmouth.
1997 As a state legislator Fisk champions animal issues and sponsors Endangered Species bill for the Maine Audubon Society and MFOA.
1998 MFOA establishes Board of Directors, legislative lobbing and volunteer structure with 250 members in the first year.
1999 MFOA sponsors legislation to end recreational and commercial leghold trapping, and initiates public awareness campaign.
1999 MFOA submits legislation in 1999 and in 2002 joins northern Maine wildlife activists in a strong two-year campaign to end coyote snaring.
2000 MFOA leads a legislative effort that results in the State's Animal Welfare Program being reviewed and completely revamped. The Animal Welfare Advisory Council (AWAC) is created, which MFOA director, Fisk serves on for two terms.
2000 Supporters of MFOA grow to 800 and a new District Coordinator structure is created with 15 districts (population centers) throughout the state with Coordinators for each.
2000 MFOA tracks legislators, send out a candidate questionnaire, and establishes a list of animal-friendly legislators many who will sponsor MFOA legislation.
2000 MFOA launches web site www.mfoa.net. 
2001 MFOA sponsors successful legislation to increase penalties for animal cruelty, including felony provisions with increased fines and imprisonment.
2001 MFOA begins a four year, two legislative session campaign to ban circus elephants into the state, which is well covered by the media. In first session the House passes the bill 85-53, but it loses in the Senate. In the second legislature MFOA wins resolution to strengthen enforcement of Maine cruelty laws pertaining to circus elephants.
2001 MFOA lobbies for legislation that prevented the pari-mutuel simulcast wagering of Greyhound racing in Maine.
2001 MFOA submits bills to ban bear baiting, hounding and trapping, to prohibit the sale of bear parts, to eliminate the state's coyote snaring program, to eliminate canned hunting, and to end the use of steel leg-hold traps.
2001 Robert Fisk, Jr. wins national HSUS award for an individual doing the most to promote animal protection legislation in their state.
2003 MFOA moves to new offices in Falmouth that also serves as the headquarters for the two-year, statewide bear referendum campaign. Increases legislation and lobbying efforts.
2003 Three MFOA members form Spay Maine to reduce cat and dog euthanasias.
2003 MFOA initiates a referendum effort to end the hunting of black bears with the use of bait, hounds and traps and works with The Humane Society of the United States, The Fund For Animals, and political and animal activists statewide. MFOA organizes a state campaign team and forms the political action committee, Maine Citizens for Fair Bear Hunting. Robert Fisk, Jr. serves as Director and spokesperson.
2004 With the help of 500 volunteers statewide, many MFOA members collect over 103,000 signatures for the bear ballot initiative, setting a state referendum signature gathering record.
2005

MFOA submits legislation to address dogs chained outside on a continuous basis specifying conditions that must be met, which passes in the legislature and becomes first enforceable legislation of its kind in the nation.

2006

MFOA follows up on successful legislation with a statewide campaign called “Dogs Chained for Life” (see PSA at bottom of website home page) and set up a structure for reporting abuse and cruelty. "DCFL" becomes an on-going MFOA campaign helping countless chained dogs in Maine.

2006 MFOA hires paid staff for office management to handle membership growth that increases to 1,500 statewide. Office manager provides MFOA with greater coverage and presence.
2007 MFOA gets legislation passed to add a bittering agent in anti-freeze to save pet and small animal deaths, that will take effect when three other three northeastern states pass it.
2007 MFOA celebrates a 10 year anniversary as Maine’s leading voice for animals. Expands board and drafts more comprehensive By-Laws.
2008 MFOA maintained a six-year campaign over three legislatures to ban the killing of non-native wild animals in enclosed acreage known as "canned hunting." In 2008, legislation capped canned hunting operations to the existing grandfathered facilities.
2008 MFOA endorses and actively supports a State Senator who wins by 121 votes in a recount.  MFOA's grassroots efforts and newspaper ads not only helped elect an animal-friendly State Senator, but in doing so, defeated an incumbent who had the worst animal protection record in the Senate.
2010 Maine legislation sponsored by MFOA in 2007 to add bittering agent to antifreeze for protection of companion animals and wildlife from poisoning becomes law in Maine after three other states in the northeast enact the same legislation.
2011 MFOA organized a 4-year awareness campaign with accompanying legislation to ban horse slaughter for human consumption in Maine as well as the transportation of horses to slaughter through Maine to slaughter plants in Quebec. The bill passed in the House, but lost in the Senate. The cruelty involved in the harness racing industry in Maine was also exposed by MFOA as a result of this campaign.
2011 The Madison Elementary School and MFOA partner to develop a 'Pet Club' model for other 3-6 graders. The 'Pet Club' activities promote the responsibility and care for companion animals.   Promotional packets are created with the goal of starting other 'Pet Clubs' in Maine elementary schools. 
2011 MFOA sponsored bill, "An Act To Improve the Protection of Animals," passes into law, resulting in better protection for animals left in unattended vehicles if the animal's safety, health or well‑being appears to be in danger.   
2011 MFOA sponsors a Joint Resolution calling on the Canadian Government to end its sanctioning of the annual seal pup slaughter. Resolution was passed in the legislature and signed by the Governor.
2013 MFOA sponsors "An Act to Make Post Conviction Possession of Animals a Criminal Offense." This legislation would make it a criminal offense for an individual to own animals after being convicted of animal cruelty and is a much-needed deterrent for repeat offenders. The bill passed in the Legislature, but was vetoed by Governor LePage.
2013 MFOA sponsors "An Act to Protect Maine Communities by Prohibiting Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption and the Transit of Horses for Slaughter." This first in the nation legislation passed in the House, but lost with no Senate conference committee
2013 -
2014
Ten years after MFOA led a state ballot initiative to end the hunting of Maine black bears with the use of bait, hounds and traps, it again joins the Humane Society in 2014 to put forth the same referendum. Unfortunately, the referendum did not pass.
2015 MFOA sponsors (in partnership with Maine Citizens Against Puppy Mills) first in the nation "anti-puppy mill" legislation to ban the retail sales of dogs and cats in Maine pet shops, which often acquire their puppies and kittens from terribly inhumane mass breeding facilities. The bill passed in both bodies of the Maine Legislature, but was vetoed by Governor LePage.
2016 MFOA starts Pet-Friendly Hotel Certification to quantify and promote animal friendly businesses in the lodging industry
2017 Maine Friends of Animals partners with The Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick to establish on-going communication, promotion, facilitation and enhancement of their dovetailing missions to safeguard animals with the least protection. 
 
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