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Maine Alert: Pending Legislation Could Impact Dog Breeders/Owners

(Friday, April 05, 2013)

A number of legislative bills have been filed in Maine that could ultimately impact the state's dog breeders and owners. While some may prove beneficial to responsible dog breeders and owners, other may prove troublesome. The American Kennel Club (AKC) urges all concerned residents of Maine to learn about the bills detailed below and to express their points of view with the appropriate state legislators.

LD 1202

This bill seeks to make significant changes to the Maine Veterinary Practice Act, including more strictly defining the term "practice of veterinary medicine".

Under current Maine law, owners or caretakers are permitted to provide certain types of care to their animals without this being considered the practice of veterinary medicine. This includes attaching a flea-and-tick collar or applying spot-type parasite treatments to their dog. LD 1202, however, would consider those activities as practicing veterinary medicine and would specifically prohibit dog owners who are not licensed veterinarians from providing even that level of minor care to their animals.

The AKC believes that responsible dog breeders performing generally accepted practices of animal husbandry and responsible dog owners treating their pet's common ailments should be afforded the liberty to provide this basic responsible care without it being considered a violation of the law. Such general care should continue to be exempt from Maine's definition of the practice of veterinary medicine.

LD 1202 is scheduled to be considered by the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee on Thursday, April 11.

The AKC encourages all concerned Maine residents to contact the committee members listed below, and express their concerns with LD 1202.

Sen. John L. Patrick, Chair – johnpat2000@hotmail.com
Rep. Erin D. Herbig, Chair – RepErin.Herbig@legislature.maine.gov
Sen. John J. Cleveland – senjohn.cleveland@legislature.maine.gov
Sen. Andre E. Cushing III – andre@andrecushing.com
Rep. Paul E. Gilbert – RepPaul.Gilbert@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Scott M. Hamann – RepScott.Hamann@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Andrew T. Mason – andrew@andrewmason.pro
Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio – RepAnneMarie.Mastraccio@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Amy Fern Volk, ranking minority member– RepAmy.Volk@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Brian M. Duprey – repduprey@me.com
Rep. Lawrence E. Lockman – RepLawrence.Lockman@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. Ellen A. Winchenbach – RepEllen.Winchenbach@legislature.maine.gov
Rep. James J. Campbell, Sr. – scampbell1936@yahoo.com
CC: Committee Clerk Rhonda Miller -- rhonda.miller@legislature.maine.gov

LD 1239

This bill seeks to clarify Maine's animal welfare laws. Among its many provisions, LD 1239 would create new definitions and require licenses for commercial boarding or training kennels, commercial breeder kennels, and personal kennels. It also clarifies when inspections of licensed entities may occur and removes a provision of current law that requires a person to obtain a vendor's license to sell a dog or cat.

LD 1239 is scheduled to be considered by the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee on Tuesday, April 16.

The AKC encourages Maine's responsible purebred dog breeders and responsible dog owners to contact the committee members (listed below) and express support of LD 1239 as introduced.

Senator Troy Dale Jackson, Chair – SenTroy.Jackson@legislature.maine.gov
Representative James F. Dill, Chair – RepJim.Dill@legislature.maine.gov
Senator James A. Boyle – senjames.boyle@legislature.maine.gov
Senator Roger L. Sherman – Senroger.sherman@legislature.maine.gov
Representative Peter S. Kent – RepPeter.Kent@legislature.maine.gov
Representative Craig V. Hickman – RepCraig.Hickman@legislature.maine.gov
Representative Brian L. Jones – representativebrianjones@gmail.com
Representative William F. Noon – RepWilliam.Noon@legislature.maine.gov
Representative Robert J. Saucier – saucierforpi@gmail.com
Representative Dean A. Cray, ranking minority member – RepDean.Cray@legislature.maine.gov
Representative Donald G. Marean – RepDon.Marean@legislature.maine.gov
Representative Russell J. Black – russellblack@juno.com
Representative Jeffrey L. Timberlake – RepJeffrey.Timberlake@legislature.maine.gov
CC: Committee Clerk Natasha Irving – natasha.irving@legislature.maine.gov

Other Important Legislation in Maine:

  • LD 1192 would prohibit the refusal to issue or the cancellation or nonrenewal of a property insurance policy, or an increase in the premium for the policy, solely on the basis of a policyholder's ownership of a certain breed of dog. This bill has been assigned to the Insurance and Financial Services Committee, but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
  • LD 703 would set the minimum amount of time a person convicted of animal cruelty is prohibited from owning, possessing, or having an animal on their property. This bill was considered by the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on March 29, but no decision has been reached.
  • LD 395 seeks to create a cause of action for noneconomic damages to be collected by a pet owner when another person or the person's animal kills or fatally injures a pet. The bill was considered by the Judiciary Committee on March 21, which later killed the bill.

Click here to view all pending legislation in Maine that AKC is currently tracking.

The AKC's Government Relations Department (AKC-GR) continues to work closely with the Federation of Maine Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners in addressing all dog-related pending legislation in Maine, and will report any developments as they warrant. For more information, contact AKC-GR at (919) 816-3720, or email doglaw@akc.org; or contact Jay Kitchener with the Federation of Maine Dog Clubs at (207) 646-8121, or email jay.kitchener@yahoo.com.