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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Overview: LD 850 - “An Act to Improve the Enforcement of Laws Protecting Dogs”
Written by MFOA   
Monday, 18 April 2011
L.D. 850
"An Act to Improve the Enforcement of Laws Protecting Dogs"

Purpose: Although Maine has strong animal welfare laws, enforcement can remain an issue. The various changes in L.D. 850 would help existing laws work more effectively to protect Maine's dogs and cats.

The public hearing for LD 850 is scheduled for
Tuesday April 26, 1:00 PM,

Cross Building Room 206.

Please be sure to submit your letter of support for this bill to the ACF Committee Clerk before then, asking her to forward your letter to the full committee:

Bill specifics:

a) Provides stronger penalties for dog and cat sellers with vendors licenses for not posting their license number in advertisements, for example, in Uncle Henry's, on and on street signs. This is directed at the backyard breeders who may fall under the radar, by selling dogs and/or cats illegally, by not being in compliance with the vendor's license requirement, or that are not listing their vendor number when advertising. This is not directed at legitimate breeders and it does not require action from the municipality other than following up on any advertising violation that is brought to its attention.

b) Moves vendor licensing from the Animal Welfare Program to the towns, which are better able to oversee monitoring. The Animal Welfare Program does not have the time or resources to monitor vendor licensing. The municipality has more direct contact and access with the vendor and is better able to collect and utilize the licensing fees. The town would receive the licensing fee.

c) Improves portions of existing statutes regarding dogs in the back of open vehicles to now include:

    1. The space is enclosed or has side and tail rails to the height of at least 46 inches extending vertically from the floor; or

    2. The dog is cross-tethered; or

    3. The dog is protected by a secured ventilated crate or cage meant for transporting animals

When the law was passed about 10 years ago, pertaining to "Transporting dogs in open vehicles" (often pick-up trucks), the above language was in the bill, but somehow was removed at the 11th hour. The current language just states that a person "may not transport a dog in the open portion of that vehicle on a public way unless the dog is protected in a manner that prevents the dog from falling or jumping or being thrown from the vehicle." Dogs in the back of vehicles unsecured represents a situation in which a dog falling out of the vehicle can cause car accidents for other drivers trying to avoid the dog, and cause serious, if not fatal, injuries to the animal. This added language provides three different options in which to properly secure the dog.

d) Specifies size (3" wider and taller than the dog) for portal on the fourth side of the dog house for dogs left outside for extended periods. In legislation passed in 2006 addressing ‘dogs chained for life,' we have found some people are not enclosing the fourth side for the dog house and just putting some plastic over it. This language specifies that the fourth side also needs to be enclosed and include a portal entrance.

e) Increases the authority to remove a dog from an unattended motor vehicle by forcefully entering a car when a dog is showing signs of duress. If a local law enforcement officer cannot respond immediately to a call regarding a dog left in a car under cold or heat stress, this would allow another peace officer such as a fireman or mall security person the authority to enter the car in order to save a dog suffering from duress from the extreme climate and/or without sufficient ventilation. Note: The bill mistakenly uses the term "person" instead of the intended language of "peace officer" in regards to this new authority.

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