Maine Animal Law
2016 Maine Animal Welfare Laws and Regulations
Do you have questions about Maine’s Animal Welfare Laws and Regulations? The Maine Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Program provides an online link to its 2014 Animal Welfare Law Book. For more information on the Animal Welfare Program and to access the Animal Welfare Law click here.
Check out some of the animal-related Bills Passed by the First Regular Session of the 128th Maine Legislature in first half of 2017
LD 198 An Act To Protect Landlords from Lawsuits for Damage or Harm Caused by Assistance Animals
This bill provides that a landlord is not liable in a civil action for personal injury, death, property damage or other damages caused by an assistance animal on the landlord’s property. Under Title 7, section 3961, the owner or keeper of an animal is liable in a civil action to a person who is injured or whose property is damaged for the amount of damage done if the damage was not occasioned through the fault of the person injured.
LD 305 An Act to Increase the Penalty for Allowing Wildlife in Captivity to Escape in Violation of a Permit Requirement
The bill provides that a permit is required to import exotic wildlife or possess wildlife in the State or receive exotic wildlife and stipulates the requirements for that permit. It also provides that a person who allows wildlife in captivity to escape that person’s possession or control in violation of rules governing keeping wildlife in captivity or an additional permit condition or requirement commits a Class E crime if the person does not immediately notify a law enforcement officer or if the person notifies a law enforcement officer but the wildlife is not permitted. If the wildlife is not permitted and escapes and the person does not immediately notify a law enforcement officer, the person commits a Class D crime.
LD 508 An Act Regarding Restrictions on the Purchase of Certain Animals
Current law prohibits a person from selling, displaying, raffling, giving away or offering for sale to the public any live fowl, turtles or rabbits under 8 weeks of age in lots of less than 6. This amended bill prohibits a person from selling, displaying, raffling, giving away or offering for sale to the public any live fowl, turtles or rabbits under 8 weeks of age in lots of less than 2.
LD 1601‘An Act to Increase Funds Deposited into the Companion Animal Sterilization Fund through the Pet Food Surcharge’
This bill provides that funds from the surcharge on pet food received for a registration year between $100,000 and $157,000 are deposited into the Animal Welfare Fund by the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and that funds over $157,000 are deposited into the Companion Animal Sterilization Fund in addition to the $100,000 currently provided to the fund in statute.
LD 98 An Act to Provide Greater Authority to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife over the Management of Wild Turkeys
This bill eliminates the requirement that a person obtain a permit to hunt wild turkeys. This bill increases the number of wild turkeys a person may take during the spring open season for hunting wild turkeys from 2 wild turkeys of either sex to 3 male wild turkeys. This bill increases the number of wild turkeys a person may take during the fall open seasons for hunting wild turkeys from 2 to 3 of either sex over both seasons. This bill allows a person to register wild turkeys electronically or by telephone.
LD 767 ‘An Act to Prohibit Feeding or Baiting Deer During Certain Parts of the Year’
This bill expands the prohibition on baiting deer during an open hunting season on deer to also prohibit feeding deer by placing salt or any other bait or food in a place to entice deer to that place from June 1st to the start of an open hunting season on deer and from the close of all open hunting seasons on deer to December 15th if all open hunting seasons on deer are closed before December 15th.
LD 1580 An Act to Clarify and Enhance Maine’s Wildlife Laws
This amendment provides that the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife may adopt rules that classify wildlife into categories for the purpose of determining necessary permits and applicable fees for permits to keep wildlife in captivity. The amendment establishes new permits and fees for wildlife in captivity depending upon the type of wildlife kept and the purposes for which it is kept. The amendment repeals the requirement that a person hold an importation permit for pheasants. This amendment establishes fees for commercial amphibian permits and commercial non-marine invertebrate permits of $27 each and provides that those permits expire one year from the date of issuance.
LD 548 An Act to Amend Laws Relating to Agricultural Pulling Events
- Adds a definition of “driver” to the laws governing agricultural fairs and pulling
events and replaces the term “teamster” with “driver” in those laws;
- Allows a pull superintendent to visually examine an animal in an event and to
request a veterinarian to undertake a more thorough examination when appropriate;
- Provides that the driver is responsible, along with the owner, for an animal’s
condition, including whether it is has been administered a prohibited substance; and
- Increases the penalties for a driver or owner found to be in violation of the laws
governing prohibited substances in an animal competing in a pulling event from a full 2
year suspension in the bill to 2 years for a first offense, 3 years for a 2nd offense and 5
years for 3rd and subsequent offenses.
LD 1532 An Act to Modernize Laws Governing Harness Racing
This amendment amends the bill as follows.
- It adds an emergency preamble and emergency clause.
- It clarifies and standardizes the reporting requirements of the State Harness Racing Commission.
- It eliminates from the bill the proposed amendments to existing harness horse racing license fee provisions.
- It provides that if the executive director of the State Harness Racing Commission or the commission determines that any of the criteria for race date awards have not been met by a licensee, the executive director must submit a notice of the deficiency to the licensee, regardless of whether the deficiency resulted in the denial of the application for or the refusal to award race dates. A copy of this notice must also be submitted at the same time to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over agriculture matters.
- It clarifies the rule-making authority of the State Harness Racing Commission regarding oversight and allocation of trust account funds.
- It removes the commission’s rule-making authority in the bill to establish standards for the use of the Fund to Encourage Racing at Maine’s Commercial Tracks.
LD 1019 An Act to Establish a 6-day Nonresident Archery License
This amendment replaces the bill and changes the title. The bill exempts a person over 16 years of age from the archery hunting license requirements when the person is hunting for bear under a valid bear hunting permit. The amendment establishes a 6-day nonresident archery license that costs $26.
LD 1083 An Act to Increase the Penalties for Hunting Deer Over Bait
This amendment provides, like the bill, that the hunting license of a person who is convicted of hunting over bait during an open season on deer must be revoked for one year. The amendment adds a provision for a 2-year revocation for a 2nd offense. The amendment removes the provision of the bill that imposes a mandatory fine of $500.
LD 1497 An Act to Correct and Clarify Maine’s Fish and Wildlife Laws
This amendment repeals provisions of law that allow hunting with firearms using the .22 caliber rimfire cartridge or any autoloading pistol having a barrel less than 8 inches in length when the firearm is an automatic firearm or the cartridges contain tracer bullets or explosive bullets. The amendment removes provisions of the bill affecting turkey bag limits and time limits on certain turkey hunting methods. The amendment allows a landowner to remove an ice shack placed on the landowner’s property without permission immediately, rather than requiring the landowner to wait 15 days for the ice shack to be considered abandoned, which current law requires. The amendment provides that any person, rather than residents only, may register a snowmobile that is more than 25 years old as an antique snowmobile.
LD 1580 An Act to Clarify and Enhance Maine’s Wildlife Laws
- Moves the planning functions of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife from the Division of Planning, which no longer exists, to the Bureau of Resource Management;
- Allows a person to capture and possess reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates native to this State and not listed by the department as threatened, endangered or of special concern without a permit, within certain possession limits;
- Clarifies the purpose for each type of captive wildlife permit issued by the department and the issuance of 3-day hold game bird propagation permits and one-year game bird propagation permits and establishes fees for those permits;
- Clarifies that the provision of law regarding release of wildlife into the wild applies to birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates;
- Eliminates the requirement to band imported pheasants; and
- Gives the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife the authority to open a town or a designated geographical area to the taking of antlerless deer within a wildlife management district that does not allow the taking of antlerless deer.