Maine’s animals need your help by opposing a proposed law, LD 1239, that could decimated Maine’s protective animal welfare laws.
Some very serious anti-animal welfare legislation being aired at a public hearing tomorrow (Tuesday, April 16) at 10 am in Room 214 of the Cross Building at the State House.
It’s important you take share this information with your Maine animal friends. According to an action alert issued by Susan Hall of Spay Maine, “Some very serious anti-animal welfare legislation has come to our attention. If passed LD 1239 will decimate Maine’s animal welfare laws. This legislation will make sweeping changes to how we allow animals to be treated in this state and will make Maine a prime location for puppy mills to set up operation.”
Hall explained that a dog breeder has submitted bill LD 1239 to Maine’s legislature. She said, “The bill is long and convoluted but if you take the time to read it, you will understand the seriousness of it and become as incensed as we are. The bill can be found via this link: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?LD=1239&snum=126
The bill repeals some sections of the current law and redefines others. In a nutshell, Hall said the bill will:
- Prevent routine inspections of breeding facilities. It would require humane agents and ACOs (animal control officers) to have probable cause for inspection and to obtain a search warrant before inspecting a breeding facility. This will cripple humane agent’s and ACO’s abilities to investigate situations based on anonymous tips, as they often do, because it is extremely difficult to obtain a search warrant based on an anonymous tip.
- Redefine the definition of “kennel” so that anyone can have an unlicensed, uninspected, “personal kennel” from which they can sell as many puppies as they wish.
- Remove the rule that requires breeders to obtain a vendor license and thus be subject to periodic inspections by humane agents and/or animal control officers (ACOs). The vendor license made it possible to find the Wilton puppy mill, from which 75 dogs were rescued.
- Allow breeders to sell as many kittens and puppies as they want to.
- Make it difficult for organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the ASPCA (American Society for Protection against Cruelty for Animals) or other national animal welfare organizations to help Maine in cases of natural disaster, large animal seizures, and other egregious situations. For example the large number of dogs rescued from the Buxton puppy mill seizure would overwhelm local resources. It would also make it difficult for these organizations to raise funds in Maine or to provide educational materials. Can you imagine what it would have been like for the animals if “outside” organizations couldn’t help after Katrina? Hall asked.
- Make it illegal for the Animal Welfare Program to raise money by selling items such as t-shirts, hats, mugs, etc. much like Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MIF&W) currently does.
Even if you cannot attend the public hearing, call, send an email or a letter to members of the Maine Legislature’s Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry asking them to vote against this bill. There’s still time to have your voice heard, even after the public hearing, but don’t delay. They need to hear how Maine people feel about this very devastating legislation.
Hall said you don’t have to go into any detail if you don’t want to. All you need to say is that you think this legislation would open up Maine to puppy mills and ask the legislator to vote down the entire bill. You can send an email to the clerk, firstname.lastname@example.org and ask her to forward your email to the whole committee.
If any of the members of this committee are your representatives, please pick up the phone and call them personally to let them know you expect them to vote against this bill, she said, pointing out, “Remember, they work for you and they do like to hear from their constituents.” The link to the list of committee members is http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/jt_com/acf.htm. If you click on the name, their contact information will pop up.
What do you think about animal protective laws? Do they work? Why would a bill like this even make it out of committee to a public hearing? Please share your thoughts.