Search Menu

The Animal Welfare Program of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DAFC) has proposed amendments to its Animal Welfare regulations.  The amendments apply to breeding kennels, boarding kennels, shelters, and pet stores licensed by the state.

The proposal seeks to improve accountability for animal facilities importing animals for sale or adoption and improve standards of care at animal facilities.  According to the Animal Welfare Program, the proposal addresses issues found during several of its investigations over the past several years, including loopholes that were discovered in regard to ownership, importation of animals, and isolation for sickness.  The proposal also corrects a discrepancy between the statutory and regulatory definitions of “kennel”, ensuring the regulatory definition complies with state law.

The proposed changes:

  • Create a new definition of “capacity for care”, and require all licensed facilities to demonstrate proper capacity to care for the number of animals under their care, upon request from and to the satisfaction of DACF.
  • Amend the definition of “kennel” as five or more dogs kept in a single location, under one ownership for breeding, hunting, show, training, field trials, sledding, competition, or exhibition purposes; and that the sale of one litter of less than 16 puppies within a 12-month period alone does not constitute the operation of a kennel.
  • Require all animals used for breeding to receive an annual health exam from the veterinarian of reference each calendar year; and that all animals owned and kept by a licensed facility that are not for sale or adoption must receive regular annual wellness examinations.
  • Mandate pet shops, shelters, kennels, and boarding kennels to make and maintain a record of its activities for at least two years. They are to include records of vaccination, medical treatments, and wellness exams for all animals (including those not for sale or adoption); and the names and addresses of those who act as foster homes.  The proposal also clarifies that certificates of veterinary inspection may be stored electronically.
  • Require licensed facilities to provide the department the name and contact information of the Maine resident responsible for the maintenance and operation of the facility.
  • Clarify that eight weeks of age is the minimum age any person may sell, adopt, or give away any puppy or kitten.
  • Mandate that pet shops provide isolation areas for animals imported from out of state; and that for shelters, foster homes used as an isolation area must be a separate and different location from an adoptive home.

Interested parties are encouraged to provide written comment on or before 5PM on Friday, October 1, 2021, to Mr. Liam Hughes, Animal Welfare Director, via 28 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333; or via email at

For more information, contact AKC Government Relations at