Earlier this year, AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) alerted Maine breeders to the presence of an anti-breeder definition proposed in LD 1311, a bill that seeks to ban animal sales by pet stores. The proposed “animal rescue entity” definition sought to exclude all breeders from animal rescue activities. Given that many responsible purebred dog breeders also participate in breed rescue work, the definition was especially problematic. Thanks to our collective outreach, no elected official expressed any interest in banning fanciers from engaging in rescue activities and the problematic definition was eliminated.
However, late in the legislative session, LD 1311 was amended to “grandfather” pet stores currently operating in Maine to continue with their businesses. AKC GR has also learned that the amended text inserted another problematic definition of “animal rescue entity” that, due to its vagueness, may still ban breeders from engaging in breed rescue activities. It reads:
Sec. 4. 7 MRSA §4151, sub-§1-A is enacted to read:
1-A. Animal rescue entity. “Animal rescue entity” means a nonprofit organization having tax-exempt status under the United States Internal Revenue Code, Section 501(c)(3) whose mission and practice is, in whole or in significant part, the rescue and placement into permanent homes of animals and that does not breed animals.’
The amended bill was passed by the legislature and sent to Governor Mills for executive action. The Governor has held LD 1311 under review and is expected to decide on whether to approve of it by the end of the year.
More than 450 groups participate in the AKC Rescue Network, which remains the largest network of dog rescue groups in the United States. These groups provide fostering and rehabilitation services for dogs in need, often as volunteer members of national breed “parent” clubs. Responsible purebred dog breeders should not be vaguely or arbitrarily limited from participating in rescue activities in Maine.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Immediately email the Governor at https://www.maine.gov/governor/mills/contact/share-your-opinion.
- Share the rescue activities your parent club provides and how it determines the right home for rescued dogs.
- Ask that LD 1311 be sent back to the Legislature to fix this definition and make clear that breed experts should not be banned from continuing with their rescue efforts in Maine.
AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will provide additional information as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.