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State Pet Shop Laws: Maine

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Definitions:

  • Animal: every living, sentient creature not a human being. (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17, § 1011, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 3907)
  • Pet dealer: a person, firm, partnership, corporation or association, including breeders, that sells more than 16 animals to the public in a 12-month period. Excludes animal shelters. (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7 § 4151)
  • Pet shop: a place or vehicle in or on which any dogs, cats, rodents, reptiles, fish, pet birds, exotic birds or exotic animals not born and raised on those premises are kept for the purpose of sale to the public. (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17, § 1011, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 3907)
  • Well cared for: the animal is receiving necessary sustenance, necessary medical attention, proper shelter, protection from the weather and humanely clean conditions and the animal has not been nor is being injured, overworked, abandoned, poisoned, beaten, mutilated or intentionally exposed to a poison. (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17, § 1011, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 3907)

Vet Care:

  • Prohibits pet dealers from selling animals that have “obvious” signs of disease or illness. (Penalty: max $100 civil fine and license revocation) (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4153, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4162)
  • Animals “unfit for sale” by a pet shop must be treated by a vet or euthanized in a humane manner. (CODE ME. R. 01-001 Ch. 701, § I)
  • Prohibits custodians from depriving an animal of “necessary medical attention.” (Penalty: class D crime and $250 minimum fine [and increased penalty for 2nd or subsequent conviction]) (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17, § 1031)
  • Pet shops must maintain an effective program for the control of disease. (CODE ME. R. 01-001 Ch. 701, § I)

Housing:

  • Custodians must provide “adequately ventilated” indoor housing or outdoor housing with “sufficient shade” to protect from direct sunlight. Cages must provide sufficient space to allow “adequate freedom of movement” for each animal and to prevent “stress, debility or abnormal behavior.” (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4015)

Lemon Laws:

  • Pet shops must furnish written instructions to consumers for the proper feeding, care, health, and special needs associated with the animal. (CODE ME. R. 01-001 Ch. 701, § I)
  • Pet dealers must give purchasers of cats and dogs a written paper disclosing the animal’s history and health status. The paper must be signed by dealer and purchaser. (Penalty: max $100 civil fine and license revocation) (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4152, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4162)
  • Pet dealers must give purchasers of cats and dogs a written notice of consumers’ rights. The paper must be signed by the dealer and purchaser. [See the statute for details.] (Penalty: max $100 civil fine and license revocation) (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4160, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4162)
  • Pet dealers must post a consumers’ rights notice. (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4159)
  • Lemon law. [See ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4155, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4156, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4157, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4158, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4159 for consumer remedies for the purchase of an ill or diseased animal.]

Food and Water:

  • Custodians must give confined animals sufficient food to “maintain the animals in good health” and potable water must be supplied daily. (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4013)
  • Prohibits custodians from depriving an animal of “necessary sustenance.” (Penalty: class D crime and $250 minimum fine [and increased penalty for 2nd or subsequent conviction]) (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17, § 1031)
  • Pet shops must feed animals at least twice a day with a “wholesome and nutritionally complete food of sufficient quantity to meet the requirements for their age, size, breed and condition.” Malnourished animals must be fed more frequently. (CODE ME. R. 01-001 Ch. 701, § I)
  • Once on solid food, puppies and kittens at pet shops must be fed 3 times daily. (CODE ME. R. 01-001 Ch. 701, § I)
  • Pet shops must make clean water available at all times and allow the animals free access. (CODE ME. R. 01-001 Ch. 701, § I)
  • Birds at pet shops must have food and water available at all times. (CODE ME. R. 01-001 Ch. 701, § I)

Sanitary Conditions:

  • Prohibits custodians from depriving an animal of “humanely clean conditions.” (Penalty: class D crime and $250 minimum fine [and increased penalty for 2nd or subsequent conviction]) (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17, § 1031, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4015)
  • Pet shops must disinfect cages, food and water dishes “as needed” to keep in a sanitary condition. Animals must be removed from the cages during cleaning. (CODE ME. R. 01-001 Ch. 701, § I)

Unweaned Animals:

  • Prohibits selling any puppy or kitten less than 8 weeks old. (CODE ME. R. 01-001 Ch. 701, § I)
  • Prohibits importing for resale or offering for resale dogs or cats less than 8 weeks old. (ME. ADMIN. CODE tit. 01-001, ch. 216 § 7)

Miscellaneous Provisions:

  • License required for pet shops. (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 3933, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 3935)
  • Pet shops that buy or sell animals must keep records of each purchase/sale of an animal for 2 years. Agriculture dept and law enforcement can inspect the records. (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 3914)
  • Pet shops must keep a record of the ownership history for each animal received. Except mice and fish. Records must be kept for 2 years. (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 3933)
  • Custodians must provide “adequately ventilated” indoor housing or outdoor housing with “sufficient shade” to protect from direct sunlight. (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4015)
  • All animals at pet shops must be exposed to 8 hours of light per day. (CODE ME. R. 01-001 Ch. 701, § I)
  • Pet shop noise must be kept to a minimum to prevent discomfort. (CODE ME. R. 01-001 Ch. 701, § I)
  • Agriculture department and Attorney General have enforcement authority. Agriculture dept, humane agents, or state vets can inspect pet shops and their records at “any reasonable time.” (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 3936)
  • Written complaints about pet shops will result in investigation by state agriculture department. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 7, 3937)
  • Pet shops must collect $25 tax on each intact (un-neutered) dog or cat sold. The tax goes to Companion Animal Sterilization Fund. (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 3933). (Enacted 2005)
  • Prohibits killing or attempting to kill an animal by a method not causing instantaneous death. Exception: vets or persons licensed per Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17, § 1042. (Penalty: class D crime and $250 minimum fine) (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17, § 1031 and ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 7, § 4011)
  • Prohibits killing a dog or cat. Except euthanasia by certified person using approved method, or shooting one’s own animal if specific requisites are met. (Penalty: class D crime and minimum $250 fine) (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17, § 1031)
  • Shooting must be used only in an emergency or where the required method of euthanizing dogs and cats can’t be implemented expeditiously and would cause suffering. Shooter must ensure humane restraint, be highly skilled, produce instant death, and take maximum precautions. (Penalty: class E crime) (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17, § 1042, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17, § 1046)
  • Requires euthanizing cats and dogs by barbiturate overdose by a vet or certified person using specific methods. (Penalty: class E crime) (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17, §1042, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17. § 1046)
  • Prohibits curariform immobilizers. Exception: vets in extreme situations. (Penalty: class E crime) (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17, § 1044, ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17, § 1046)
  • Allows agriculture dept to inspect or investigate facilities where cats or dogs are destroyed. (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17, §1045)

Notes:

  1. Where “adequate space” is not defined the state has not established a definition for the term.
  2. The definition of “animal” may actually be broadly written while the types of animals covered by the law (e.g., veterinary care, sanitation, food and water) may be more narrowly drafted.

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