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Maine

Maine Revised Statutes Annotated. Title 7. Agriculture and Animals. Part 9. Animal Welfare. Chapter 720. Rabies Prevention for Cats and Shelter Provisions.

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: ME ST T. 7 3916 - 3919C, 4041; ME ST T. 1 217

Citation: 1 M. R. S. A. 217; 7 M. R. S. A. 3916 - 3919-C; 7 M.R.S.A. 4041;


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 01/2014

Summary:   These statutes comprise Maine's cat laws.  Among the provisions include rabies vaccination requirements, stray cat procedures, and the Animal Trespass statutes that specifically excludes cats from its purview.


Statute in Full:

Title 7. Agriculture and Animals.  Part 9. Animal Welfare.  Chapter 720. Rabies Prevention for Cats and Shelter Provisions.

§ 3916. Rabies vaccinations

§ 3917. Antirabies clinics

§ 3918. Violation

§ 3919. Seizure of stray cats

§ 3919-A. Procedure for acceptance and disposition of cats by animal shelter

§ 3919-B. Disposition of pet when owner is institutionalized

§ 3919-C. Animal held pending court decision

§ 3919-D. Temporary animal shelter

Title 7. Agriculture and Animals.  Part 9. Animal Welfare.  Chapter 741. Animal Trespass.

§ 4041. Animal trespass

Title 1. General Provisions.  Chapter 9. Seal, Motto, Emblems and Flags.  Subchapter I. General Provisions.

§ 217. State cat

 

 

Title 7. Agriculture and Animals.  Part 9. Animal Welfare.  Chapter 720. Rabies Prevention for Cats and Shelter Provisions.

§ 3916. Rabies vaccinations

1. Required for cats. Except as provided in subsection 4, an owner or keeper of a cat over 3 months of age must have that cat vaccinated against rabies. Rabies vaccine must be administered by a licensed veterinarian or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Upon receiving an initial vaccination, a cat is considered protected for one year and an owner or keeper of that cat must get a booster vaccination for that cat one year after the initial vaccination and subsequent booster vaccinations at intervals that do not exceed the intervals recommended by a national association of state public health veterinarians for the type of vaccine administered.

1-A. Required for dogs. A person owning or keeping a dog shall, within 30 days after the dog attains the age of 6 months, cause the dog to be vaccinated against rabies and shall have booster vaccinations administered periodically in accordance with rules adopted by the Commissioner of Health and Human Services under section 3922, subsection 3. A wolf hybrid is required to be vaccinated in accordance with this subsection. The procedure prescribed under Title 22, chapter 251, subchapter 5 for a wolf hybrid suspected of having rabies does not change based on proof that the wolf hybrid has received a rabies vaccination.

2. Certificate. A licensed veterinarian who vaccinates or supervises the vaccination of a cat or dog shall issue to the owner or keeper a certificate of rabies vaccination approved by the State and shall indicate on the certificate the date by which a booster vaccination is required pursuant to subsection 1 or 1-A.

2-A. Notice to department. A veterinarian who issues a certificate of rabies vaccination for a dog pursuant to subsection 2 shall, within 30 days of issuing the certificate, forward by mail, e-mail or fax a copy of that certificate to the department. The department shall send a copy of the certificate by mail, e-mail or fax to the clerk of the municipality in which the owner resides. If the owner resides in the unorganized territory, the department shall send a copy of the certificate to the dog recorder in that unorganized territory or, in the absence of a duly authorized dog recorder, to the dog recorder in the nearest municipality or unorganized territory in the same county in which the owner resides. The department may retain a copy or electronic record of the rabies certificate. The department may accumulate certificates received and distribute them periodically to the appropriate municipalities and dog recorders. Distributions must be made no fewer than 4 times a year.

3. Enforcement. A humane agent, an animal control officer or a law enforcement officer may ask an owner or keeper of a cat or dog to present proof of a certificate of rabies vaccination from the State.

4. Exception. Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, an animal shelter operated by a nonprofit organization is not required to vaccinate an abandoned or stray cat or dog received by the shelter.

An owner or keeper of a cat is exempt from the requirements of subsection 1 if a medical reason exists that precludes the vaccination of the cat. To qualify for this exemption, the owner or keeper must have a written statement signed by a licensed veterinarian that includes a description of the cat and the medical reason that precludes the vaccination.

CREDIT(S)

1991, c. 779, § 26, eff. March 31, 1992; 1993, c. 468, § 9; 1995, c. 490, § 7; 1997, c. 704, §§ 3 to 5; 2005, c. 422, §§ 3 to 6; 2007, c. 119, § 1; 2007, c. 439, § 8.

 

§ 3917. Antirabies clinics

The following provisions apply to low-cost antirabies clinics.

1. Clinic establishment. The department shall facilitate the establishment of low-cost antirabies clinics at locations and on dates as appropriate. At least one low-cost antirabies clinic must be conducted annually in each county. In facilitating the establishment of antirabies clinics, the department shall cooperate with local veterinarians and local organizations. When other arrangements can not be made for a licensed veterinarian to vaccinate or to supervise vaccinations by an animal technician at a low-cost clinic, a veterinarian employed by the department shall administer the vaccinations.

2. Veterinarians participating in low-cost antirabies clinics. This subsection applies to a veterinarian licensed under Title 32, chapter 71-A [FN1] or an assistant under the direction of the veterinarian providing professional services within the scope of the veterinarian's license who participates in a low-cost antirabies clinic established under this section. Adherence by the veterinarian or assistant to the standards of care within the profession creates a rebuttable presumption that the conduct of the veterinarian or assistant was not negligent.

CREDIT(S)
1991, c. 779, § 26, eff. March 31, 1992; 1993, c. 468, § 10.

[FN1] 32 M.R.S.A. § 4851 et seq.

 

§ 3918. Violation

A person who violates this chapter commits a civil violation for which a forfeiture of not more than $100 may be adjudged.

CREDIT(S)
1997, c. 704, § 6.

 

§ 3919. Seizure of stray cats

1. Definition. For the purposes of this chapter, a “stray cat” means a cat on the premises of a person other than the owner of the cat, without the consent of the owner or occupant of the premises, on a public street or on other public property, except under the physical control of the owner.

2. Seizure by animal control officer. An animal control officer or person acting in that capacity may seize or humanely trap a stray cat or small animal and deliver it to an animal shelter as provided for in section 3919-A or section 3919-E or to the owner, if the owner is known. If ownership can not be established, such a cat or small animal may be handled as a homeless cat or small animal for the purpose of acceptance and disposition by an animal shelter.

3. Person finding stray cat. A person finding a stray cat or small animal and not knowing the owner or residence of the cat or small animal may take that cat or small animal to the animal shelter designated by the municipality in which the cat or small animal was found.

Credits
2001, c. 363, § 3; 2013, c. 115, § 7, eff. Oct. 9, 2013.

 

§ 3919-A. Procedure for acceptance and disposition of cats by animal shelter

An animal shelter to which a cat is taken may accept the cat unless the shelter is in quarantine. An animal shelter accepting a cat shall comply with the provisions of this section.

1. Cats with identification. An animal shelter that accepts a cat with cat identification shall make a reasonable attempt to notify the owner by telephone or by sending a written notice within 24 hours of accepting the cat. Except as provided in subsections 4 and 5, the animal shelter shall hold the cat for a period of 6 days beginning on and including the day of acceptance. If the owner claims the cat within the 6-day period, the animal shelter shall release the cat to the owner upon payment of any municipal impoundment fee and actual fees incurred for food, shelter and veterinary care. Upon expiration of the 6-day period, ownership of the cat is vested with the animal shelter and the animal shelter may then handle the cat as a homeless cat for disposition in accordance with subsection 2.

2. Homeless cats. When an animal shelter accepts a cat under section 3919 and that cat does not have cat identification, the animal shelter shall hold the cat for not less than 48 hours or, for feral cats, not less than 24 hours. After the 24-hour or 48-hour period, the animal shelter may treat the cat as a homeless cat and may:

A. Except as provided in section 3938-A, offer the cat for adoption, sell or give away the cat; or

B. Otherwise dispose of the cat humanely in accordance with Title 17, chapter 42, subchapter 4. [FN1]

An animal shelter may not sell or give a cat to a research facility.

3. Owner's claim after 6-day period. An owner may reacquire a cat at any time prior to its disposition under subsection 2 upon payment of any municipal impoundment fee and actual fees incurred for food, shelter and veterinary care and any other reasonable fee imposed by the animal shelter.

4. Euthanasia for severely sick or severely injured cat. A humane agent, an animal control officer or an animal shelter may authorize in writing the immediate euthanasia of a severely sick or severely injured cat upon determining that the following conditions are met:

A. The animal control officer of the municipality where the cat was found has been notified or, if the cat has cat identification, the owner of the cat has been notified; and

B. A veterinarian states in writing that the cat's recovery from its injury or illness, given reasonable time and reasonable care, is doubtful or that the cat presents a danger to the public.

Notwithstanding paragraphs A and B, a veterinarian may authorize immediate euthanasia if, in the veterinarian's judgment, there is no possibility of recovery for a severely injured or severely sick cat.

5. Immunity. A veterinarian, a humane agent, an animal control officer or an animal shelter, including a person employed by an animal shelter, is not civilly liable to the owner of a cat for the loss of that cat resulting from actions taken in compliance with this section.

Nothing in this subsection grants to an animal shelter or person any immunity from liability arising from the gift, sale or other transference of a cat to a research facility in violation of subsection 2.

CREDIT(S)

2001, c. 363, § 3; 2003, c. 405, § 8; 2007, c. 439, §§ 9, 10; 2009, c. 343, § 11.


[FN1] 17 M.R.S.A. § 1041, et seq.

 

§ 3919-B. Disposition of pet when owner is institutionalized

Notwithstanding sections 3913 and 3919-A and except as provided in Title 17, section 1021, when a person brings a pet to an animal shelter because the owner of that pet is incarcerated or hospitalized, that person shall provide the animal shelter with the name and address of the pet's owner and the name and address of the facility where the person is incarcerated or hospitalized. The person bringing the pet to the shelter shall also provide the shelter with that person's name and address and that person's relationship to the owner or the official capacity in which that person is acting to enforce the animal welfare laws. The animal shelter may accept the pet unless the shelter is in quarantine. An animal shelter accepting a pet under this section shall comply with the provisions of this section.

1. Notice. An animal shelter that accepts a pet under this section shall within 24 hours of receiving the pet send a notice by mail, return receipt requested, to the owner of the pet at the owner's last known address. The notice must inform the owner of the provisions of this section.

2. Release of pet. Upon payment of costs incurred for food, shelter and veterinary care, an animal shelter shall release a pet accepted under this section to its owner or to a person who is designated in a letter signed by the owner as acting on the owner's behalf.

3. Transfer of ownership; disposition of pet. If an owner fails to arrange for release of a pet in accordance with subsection 2 within 10 days of the pet's acceptance by the shelter, ownership of the pet is vested with the animal shelter upon expiration of the 10-day period and the animal shelter may:

A. Except for a wolf hybrid, offer the pet for adoption or sell or give away the pet; or

B. Dispose of the pet humanely in accordance with Title 17, chapter 42, subchapter 4.

An animal shelter may not sell or give a pet to a research facility. An animal shelter may not sell, give away or offer for adoption a wolf hybrid. Ownership of a wolf hybrid may be transferred only in accordance with section 3921-B, subsection 3.

4. Claims. When an owner does not arrange for the release of a pet under subsection 2, the animal shelter is entitled to receive from the department $4 a day for food and shelter for the pet for a maximum of 10 days.

5. Immunity. A person who brings a pet to an animal shelter in accordance with this section is not civilly liable to the owner for the loss of that pet resulting from the release, transfer or disposition of the pet in accordance with subsection 2 or 3. A veterinarian, a humane agent, an animal control officer or an animal shelter, including a person employed by an animal shelter, is not civilly liable to the owner for the loss of that pet resulting from the release, transfer or disposition of the pet in accordance with subsection 2 or 3.

Nothing in this subsection grants to an animal shelter or person any immunity from liability arising from the gift, sale or other transfer of a pet to a research facility in violation of subsection 3.

CREDIT(S)

2003, c. 405, § 9; 2009, c. 343, § 12; 2011, c. 100, § 8, eff. May 19, 2011.

 

§ 3919-C. Animal held pending court decision

When an animal shelter holds an animal at the request or with the approval of the department pending an investigation or disposition by the court of an alleged violation of chapter 739 or Title 17, chapter 42, the shelter is entitled to receive from the department monetary compensation in accordance with this section for the period for which food and shelter are furnished to the animal.

1. Compensation for dogs and cats. Compensation for a dog or cat is $5 a day. Compensation for a female cat or dog with a litter that has not been weaned is $8 a day.

2. Equines. Compensation for an equine is $10 a day.

3. Livestock. Except for equines, fowl and rabbits, compensation for a livestock animal is between $5 and $8 a day as determined by the department based on the size of the animal.

4. Other animals. Compensation for a rabbit is $2 a day. Compensation for a bird, including poultry, is $1 a day. Compensation for other animals is as determined by the department.

CREDIT(S)

2003, c. 405, § 9; 2007, c. 439, § 11.

 

§ 3919-D. Temporary animal shelter

The department may temporarily impound animals within an enclosure other than a licensed animal shelter, and such an enclosure constitutes a temporary animal shelter. When animals are held at a temporary animal shelter for more than 21 days, the shelter must comply with the standards established by the department for licensed animal shelters.

Credits
2007, c. 702, § 7.

 

Title 7. Agriculture and Animals.  Part 9. Animal Welfare.  Chapter 741. Animal Trespass.

§ 4041. Animal trespass

1. Deleted. Laws 1999, c. 254, § 15.

1-A. Trespass. An owner or keeper of an animal may not allow that animal to enter onto or remain on the property of another or unattended on any local, county or state road or highway after the owner or keeper has been informed by a law enforcement officer, authorized employee of the department or animal control officer that that animal was found on that property or on that local, county or state road or highway.

2. Removal. The owner or keeper of an animal is responsible, at the owner's or keeper's expense, for removing any animal found trespassing. An animal control officer, authorized employee of the department or law enforcement officer may, at the owner's or keeper's expense, remove and control an animal found trespassing if:

A. The owner or keeper fails to remove the animal after having been notified by an animal control officer, authorized employee of the department or law enforcement officer that the animal was trespassing; or

B. The animal is an immediate danger to itself, persons or another's property.

3. Civil violation. A person commits a civil violation if an animal owned or kept by that person is found trespassing and:

A. That person fails to remove the animal within 12 hours, or immediately if public safety or private or public property is threatened, after having been personally notified by an animal control officer, authorized employee of the department or law enforcement officer that the animal was trespassing; or

B. Deleted. Laws 1999, c. 254, § 15.

C. That person owns an animal or animals that have been found trespassing on 5 or more days within a 30-day period or 3 or more days within a 7-day period.

4. Fines. A person who violates this section is subject to the following fines.

A. A person who violates this section commits a civil violation for which a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $500 must be adjudged.

B. A person who violates this section after having been adjudicated as having committed a violation of this section commits a civil violation for which a fine of $1,000 must be adjudged.

C. A person who violates this section after having been adjudicated as having committed 2 or more violations of this section commits a civil violation for which a fine of $2,500 must be adjudged.

4-A. Restitution; court costs and fees. In addition to fines, the court may as part of the sentencing include an order of restitution for costs incurred in removing and controlling the animal. When appropriate, the court may order restitution to the property owner based on damage done and financial loss. Any restitution ordered and paid must be deducted from the amount of any judgment awarded in a civil action brought by the property owner against the owner or keeper of the animal based on the same facts. When an owner or keeper violates this section 3 or more times within a 90-day period, the court shall order restitution of all costs incurred by the department in responding to a violation of this section or assisting an animal control officer or law enforcement officer responding to a violation of this section. Upon application of the department, municipality or law enforcement agency enforcing this section, the owner or keeper of the animal must also pay reasonable court costs and attorney's fees of the department, municipality or law enforcement agency if the department, municipality or law enforcement agency is the prevailing party in any court proceeding.

4-B. Forfeiture. If the department, a municipality or a law enforcement agency determines that a repeated violation of this section by an owner or keeper of an animal jeopardizes the public health, welfare or safety of the community, the department, municipality or law enforcement agency may bring a forfeiture action in the county in which the violations occurred under Title 14, section 506. In an action brought under this subsection, the burden of proof is on the department, municipality or law enforcement agency. If a court determines that a repeated violation of this section jeopardizes the public health, welfare or safety of the community, the court may order any animal that is the subject of the violation sold in a commercially reasonable manner and apply the proceeds to any fine, fee, restitution or cost owed by the owner or keeper under this section with any remaining balance returned to the owner or keeper of the animal.

5. Exemption. A person is not liable under this section if, at the time of the alleged trespass, that person was licensed or privileged to allow the animal to be on the property.

6. Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.

A. “Animal” does not include cats.

B. “Authorized employee of the department” means a humane agent or any other employee of the department designated by the commissioner to assist with compliance and enforcement of this section.

Credits
1989, c. 91, eff. May 3, 1989; 1995, c. 351, § 5; 1997, c. 104, § 1; 1997, c. 690, §§ 47 to 49; 1999, c. 254, § 15; 2001, c. 15, § 1; 2007, c. 439, §§ 29, 30; 2009, c. 548, §§ 4, 5, eff. March 25, 2010; 2011, c. 18, § 1, eff. April 1, 2011; 2013, c. 348, §§ 1, 2, eff. Oct. 9, 2013.

 

 

Title 1. General Provisions.  Chapter 9. Seal, Motto, Emblems and Flags.  Subchapter I. General Provisions.

§ 217. State cat

The state cat shall be the Maine coon cat.

1985, c. 737, § A, 4, eff. April 18, 1986.

 



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