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Bill Seeks To Improve Maine's Kennel Licensing Law

(Monday, April 15, 2013)

Maine LD 1239, sponsored by Representative Paul Davis, seeks to clarify, streamline, and promote fair animal welfare laws in Maine. The American Kennel Club (AKC) believes LD 1239 represents an improvement over current Maine law, and joins the Federation of Maine Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (Maine Federation) in support of LD 1239. Maine residents concerned with the burdensome nature of the state's current animal welfare licensing laws are encouraged to attend the Tuesday, April 16, meeting of the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee or contact the committee members, and encourage them to support LD 1239.

BACKGROUND – In 2008, representatives of the Maine Federation were part of a diverse stakeholder group that sought to define the term "kennel" in the state's animal welfare laws. Throughout the process, the Maine Federation and other stakeholders objected to the troublesome nature of the draft proposals. Their concerns were not included in the final legislative report, and resulting legislation was enacted in 2009 that burdens all responsible dog breeders in Maine with onerous licensing requirements.

CURRENT LAW – Under current Maine law, low operational thresholds make it likely that many responsible home-based dog breeders are required to be licensed and regulated as "breeding kennels", which are defined as a location where 5 or more adult female dogs or cats capable of breeding are kept and some or all of the offspring are offered for sale, sold or exchanged for value OR a location where more than 16 dogs or cats raised on the premises are sold to the public in a 12-month period.

WHAT LD 1239 WOULD DO LD 1239 would incrementally improve current law by amending Maine's animal welfare licensing definitions to a system more clearly based on the purpose of the facility, and includes new definitions of: "commercial boarding or training kennel"; "commercial breeder kennel", which includes both possession and sales requirements to qualify; and "personal kennels" for facilities where five or more dogs or cats kept under one ownership for breeding, hunting, show, training, field trials, sledding, competition, or exhibition purposes. Personal kennels would be prohibited from selling dogs to wholesalers, brokers, or pet shops. Inspections of personal kennels would no longer be mandatory, but instead available only upon a determination that there is probable cause to believe deleterious or threatening conditions exist at the licensed facility.

LD 1239 also proposes to repeal the definition of "intermittent agent" and removes the provision that any person selling more than one dog annually must acquire a vendor's license.

WHAT YOU CAN DO – Concerned Maine residents are encouraged to attend the Tuesday, April 16th meeting of the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee (10 AM, Room 214, Cross State Office Building, 111 Sewall St., Augusta) in support of LD 1239. Concerned residents are also encouraged to contact the committee members (listed below) and urge them to address the burdensome nature of Maine's current law by supporting LD 1239.

To contact a Representative, call 1-800-423-2900. To contact a Senator, call 1-800-423-6900.

Sen. Troy Dale Jackson, Chair
E-mail: SenTroy.Jackson@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. James F. Dill, Chair
E-mail: RepJim.Dill@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Dean A. Cray, Ranking Minority Member
E-mail: RepDean.Cray@legislature.maine.gov

Sen. James A. Boyle
E-mail: senjames.boyle@legislature.maine.gov

Sen. Roger L. Sherman
E-mail: Senroger.sherman@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Peter S. Kent
E-mail: RepPeter.Kent@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Craig V. Hickman
E-mail: RepCraig.Hickman@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Brian L. Jones
E-mail: representativebrianjones@gmail.com

Rep. William F. Noon
E-mail: RepWilliam.Noon@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Robert J. Saucier
E-mail: saucierforpi@gmail.com

Rep. Donald G. Marean
E-mail: RepDon.Marean@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Russell J. Black
E-mail: russellblack@juno.com

Rep. Jeffrey L. Timberlake
E-mail: RepJeffrey.Timberlake@legislature.maine.gov

CC: Committee Clerk Natasha Irving – E-Mail: Natasha.irving@legislature.maine.gov.

AKC's Government Relations Department (AKC-GR) will provide more information as developments 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 and Responsible Dog Owners at (207) 646-8121 or email jay.kitchener@yahoo.com.

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