On Monday, May 3, starting at 10am, the Maine Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will hear testimony on LD 1265. The American Kennel Club (AKC) is concerned that, although the title of the bill states it is intended to control the hunting of coyotes, the bill, as introduced, could impact all hunting dogs. Maine residents are encouraged to contact the committee to express concerns. It is expected to take action on LD 1265 at its Wednesday, May 5, 2021, work session.
CONTROL OF HUNTING DOGS: LD 1265, as introduced, would prohibit the hunting of coyote at night, and with dogs or bait. Violations could result in the revocation of one’s hunting license and civil fines up to $500. The AKC takes no position on coyote hunting.
However, SECTION 1 of LD 1265 would amend the hunting laws by removing the hunting exception from the prohibition of allowing dogs “at large”. According to Maine law, a dog “at large” is defined as “off the premises of the owner and not under the control of any person whose personal presence and attention would reasonably control the conduct of the animal.”
Owners of hunting dogs utilize a number of methods to maintain reasonable control such as GPS collars, beepers, neon vests, and bells. Maintaining a personal presence with a dog that is hunting or performing field work may not always be practical or achievable. AKC believes that these traditional practices should remain protected under Maine law, and therefore urges the striking of Section 1 of LD 1265.
AKC encourages and strongly supports the interaction and mutual enjoyment of owners and dogs in sporting activities such as hunting and field trials; in working circumstances such as herding, tracking, and pulling; and in competition events such as dog shows, obedience trials, agility trials, and other performance events and tests. The AKC believes that dogs should be properly cared for, humanely trained, and not pushed beyond reasonable limits for which they were bred.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: AKC strongly encourages those who reside in Maine to contact the committee members and ask them to strike SECTION 1 of the bill. First, click on the Maine Joint Committee website here. Second, select “Public Hearing.” Next, use the drop-down menu to select “Inland Fisheries and Wildlife”. Then choose the date, May 3, 2021. Last, choose LD 1265 to submit your comments in the box provided and you will also be given the option to sign up to speak live at the hearing.
For more information on these or other legislative issues in Maine, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at 919-816-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org.