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MAINE STATUTES
TITLE 7. AGRICULTURE AND ANIMALS
PART 9. ANIMAL WELFARE
CHAPTER 717. ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD ACT

3901. Animal Welfare Board Act
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Animal Welfare Board Act."

3902. Purposes
The primary legislative purposes of this Act are to provide for the licensing of dogs and the humane and proper treatment of animals.

3903-A. Animal Welfare Board; membership
The Animal Welfare Board, as established by Title 5, section 12004-I, subsection 2-B, is an independent board. The department shall provide office space for the board.

1. Designated members. The board consists of 5 members appointed by the Governor and subject to review by the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over agricultural matters and confirmation by the Legislature. The membership must consist of:

A. Two members representing humane societies. In making the appointments, the Governor shall consider nominations made by humane societies incorporated under the law, except that not more than one member may represent a particular society;

B. Two members representing the general public; and

C. One veterinarian with experience in both large and small animal practice who is or has been licensed to practice in this State. In making the appointment, the Governor shall consider nominations made by the Maine Veterinary Medical Association. A veterinarian is not eligible for membership on the board if the license of the veterinarian has ever been suspended or revoked by the Administrative Court pursuant to Title 32, chapter 71-A.

2. Compensation. Members of the board are entitled to expenses only.

3904. Terms of office
Except for initial appointees, each member serves for a term of 3 years or until a successor has qualified. In the case of a vacancy for any reason, the Governor shall appoint a member to fill the unexpired term.

3905. Administration
The board shall elect one of its members as chair. The chair serves for a 2- year period and may not serve as chair for consecutive 2-year periods.

The board shall hold regular monthly meetings, but may waive, by majority vote, a succeeding monthly meeting. The chair shall call special meetings of the board whenever requested in writing by 2 or more members.

3906-A. Powers and duties of board
The board has the powers and duties set forth in this section.

1. Cruelty to pet animals. The board, in cooperation with animal control officers, shall investigate complaints of cruelty to pet animals and enforce cruelty-to-animal laws in accordance with chapter 739 and Title 17, chapter 42 when the animal affected is a pet animal as defined in section 3907. The Attorney General and the district attorneys shall assist the board with its enforcement responsibilities. The board may apply to the commissioner for the assistance of state veterinarians.

2. Employees. The board shall appoint intermittent humane agents as necessary to assist the board in carrying out its duties and responsibilities. The board shall train and coordinate efforts of intermittent agents. These intermittent agents are unclassified employees whose training, compensation and hours of employment are determined by the board. The jurisdiction of each intermittent humane agent extends throughout the State.

3. Spaying and neutering fund. The board may accept funds from any private or public source for the purpose of subsidizing spaying and neutering. The board shall deposit all funds accepted for this purpose in a separate, nonlapsing spaying and neutering account. The board shall establish guidelines for payments and make payments from the fund. All payments from the fund must be used to subsidize spaying and neutering of dogs and cats.

4. Information. The board may obtain, develop or disseminate any information useful or convenient for carrying out any purpose or power of the board.

5. Annual report. The board shall report annually by March 1st to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over agricultural matters on the activities of the board. This report must include a summary of cases of cruelty to pet animals investigated by the board and an account of deposits into and payments from the spaying and neutering fund.

3906-B. Powers and duties of commissioner
The commissioner has the powers and duties set forth in this section.

1. Dog licensing laws. The commissioner shall carry out the dog licensing laws and furnish to municipalities all license blanks and tags.

2. Animal Welfare Fund. The commissioner shall deposit all license fees received pursuant to chapters 719, 721, 723, 725 and 743 in a separate account established by the Treasurer of State and known as the Animal Welfare Fund. This account does not lapse, but continues from year to year. The commissioner shall pay from the Animal Welfare Fund the expense of furnishing blanks and tags, travel expenses and salaries for necessary personnel, payments to shelters and expenses incurred in the administration of this Part.

3. Dog recorders. The commissioner shall appoint dog recorders in unorganized territories and establish fees for services rendered.

4. Training and certification of animal control officers. The commissioner shall develop a program to train animal control officers. This program must include training in investigation of complaints of cruelty to pet animals, training in response to calls concerning animals suspected of having rabies and training in enforcement of dog licensing laws and rabies immunization laws. The commissioner shall certify all animal control officers who complete the training program and all persons who have been employed full time in the capacity of animal control officer for a period of one year or longer prior to the effective date of this subsection.

5. Cruelty to animals. The commissioner shall refer all complaints of cruelty to pet animals received by the department to the board. The commissioner shall refer all other complaints of cruelty to animals to the appropriate division within the department for investigation.

6. Inspections. The commissioner shall inspect licensed facilities as provided in chapters 719, 723 and 743.

7. Payment of fees. The commissioner may authorize payments to providers of special services to animals when the commissioner determines those services are in the public interest.

8. Copies of law. The commissioner shall seasonably forward to the clerks of municipalities copies of this Part.

9. Employees. The commissioner shall employ personnel, subject to the Civil Service Law, as necessary to assist in enforcing this Part and in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the department. The commissioner, in consultation with the board, shall employ, subject to the Civil Service Law, one full-time humane agent to assist the board in carrying out its duties and responsibilities. The commissioner may not hire as a state humane agent a person who has been convicted of a criminal violation under Title 17, chapter 42 or has been adjudicated of a civil violation for cruelty to animals under chapter 739.

10. Rules. Pursuant to Title 5, chapter 375, the commissioner shall adopt, amend and repeal rules, including emergency rules, necessary for the proper administration, implementation, enforcement and interpretation of any provision of law that the commissioner is charged with administering.

3906-C. Animal Welfare Advisory Committee
The Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, as established by Title 5, section 12004-I, subsection 2-C, shall advise the commissioner on matters pertaining to animal welfare.

1. Membership. The committee consists of 6 members appointed by the Governor and subject to review by the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over agricultural matters and confirmation by the Legislature. The Governor shall appoint members as follows:

A. One municipal clerk;

B. One animal control officer;

C. One member representing licensed animal shelters;

D. One member representing licensed boarding or breeding kennels;

E. One member representing licensed pet shops; and

F. One member representing humane societies.

2. State member. The commissioner or the commissioner's designee serves as an ex officio, nonvoting member.

3. Compensation. Members of the committee are entitled to expenses only.

4. Terms of office. Except for initial appointees and the state member, each member serves for a term of 3 years or until the member's successor has qualified. In the case of a vacancy for any reason, the Governor shall appoint a member to fill the unexpired term.

5. Initial terms of office. Initially, 2 appointed members serve for one year, 2 members serve for 2 years and 2 members serve for 3 years.

6. Administration; meetings. The committee shall elect one of its members as chair. The chair serves for a 2-year period and may not serve as chair for consecutive 2-year periods.

The committee shall hold regular monthly meetings but may waive by majority vote a succeeding monthly meeting. The chair shall call special meetings of the committee whenever requested in writing by 2 or more members.

3907. Definitions
As used in this Part, and in every law relating to or affecting animals, unless the context indicates otherwise, the following terms have the following meanings.

1. Act. "Act" means the Animal Welfare Board Act.

1-A. Abandoned dog. "Abandoned dog" means a dog that has been deserted by its owner or keeper.

2. Animal. "Animal" means every living, sentient creature not a human being.

3. Animal control. "Animal control" means control of dogs, cats, and domesticated or undomesticated animals in accordance with section 3948.

4. Animal control officer. "Animal control officer" means the person appointed periodically by a municipality pursuant to chapter 725.

5. Repealed.

5-A. Animal shelter. "Animal shelter" means a facility that includes a physical structure or part of a physical structure that provides temporary or permanent shelter to stray, abandoned, abused or owner-surrendered animals.

6. At large. "At large" means off the premises of the owner and not under the control of any person whose personal presence and attention would reasonably control the conduct of the animal.

7. Board. "Board" means the Animal Welfare Board or its duly authorized agent.

8. Boarding kennel. "Boarding kennel" means any place, building, tract of land or abode in or on which privately owned dogs or other pets, or both, are kept for their owners in return for a fee.

8-A. Breeding kennel. "Breeding kennel" means a kennel operated for the purpose of breeding or buying, selling or in any way exchanging dogs for value that exchanges more than 16 dogs in a 12-month period.

9. Business day. "Business day" means any day of the calendar year other than a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.

10. Clerk; municipal clerk. "Clerk" or "municipal clerk" means the clerk of a municipality, the deputy clerk or assistant clerk, where directed by the clerk, carrying out the duties of this Part.

11. Commissioner. "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources or his duly authorized agent.

12. Constable. "Constable" means a law enforcement officer appointed by municipal officers pursuant to law.

12-A. Equine facility. "Equine facility" means a boarding stable or commercial riding facility that requires a license under section 4102.

12-B. Foster home. "Foster home" means a facility that includes a physical structure or part of a physical structure and that contracts with an animal shelter to provide temporary shelter to stray, abandoned, abused or owner- surrendered animals.

13. Guide dog or hearing dog kept for breeding purposes. "Guide dog or hearing dog kept for breeding purposes" means a male or female dog owned by a nonprofit organization for the purpose of producing puppies to be trained as guide dogs or hearing dogs and living with a resident of the State.

14. Guide dog or hearing dog kept prior to training. "Guide dog or hearing dog kept prior to training" means a dog under 18 months of age, owned by a nonprofit organization for the purpose of training as a guide dog or hearing dog and living temporarily with a resident of the State prior to training.

15. Humane agent. "Humane agent" means an employee of the department or an intermittent employee of the board who assists in enforcing this Part.

15-A. Repealed.

16. Keeper. "Keeper" means a person in possession or control of a dog or other animal. A person becomes the keeper of a stray domesticated animal, other than a dog or livestock, if the person feeds that animal for at least 10 consecutive days.

17. Kennel. "Kennel" means one pack or collection of dogs or wolf hybrids kept in a single location under one ownership for breeding, hunting, show, training, field trials and exhibition purposes.

18. Law enforcement officer. "Law enforcement officer" means any person who, by virtue of his public employment, is vested by law with a duty to maintain public order, enforce any law of this State establishing a civil violation, prosecute offenders or make arrests for crimes, whether that duty extends to all crimes or is limited to specific crimes.

18-A. Livestock. "Livestock" means cattle, horses, sheep, goats, donkeys, swine or other animals if the animals are kept and used by a commercial farmer.

19. Municipality. "Municipality" means an organized city, town or plantation.

20. Mutilate. "Mutilate" includes, but is not limited to, cutting the bone, muscles or tendons of the tail of a horse for the purpose of docking or setting up the tail and cropping or cutting off the ear of a dog in whole or in part.

21. Owner. "Owner" means a person owning, keeping or harboring a dog or other animal.

22. Person. "Person" means an individual, corporation, partnership, association or any other legal entity.

22-A. Pet animal. "Pet animal" means an animal kept by a private individual and not excluded by this subsection. "Pet animal" includes dogs kept in a kennel as defined in subsection 17. "Pet animal" does not include an animal kept and used by a commercial farmer, a harness racing horse or animal used in a pulling event. "Pet animal" does not include an animal kept in a boarding kennel, breeding kennel, animal shelter, equine facility or pet shop.

22-B. Pet. "Pet" means a dog, cat or other domesticated animal commonly kept in a household, but does not include tamed animals that are ordinarily considered wild animals.

23. Pet shop. "Pet shop" means 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.

24. Respective municipality. "Respective municipality" means, in the case of towns, plantations and cities, the municipality where the dog or ferret is found; in the case of unorganized territories, the municipality near or adjacent to the unorganized territory where the dog or ferret is found; or the designee of that municipality.

25. Repealed.

25-A. Stray. "Stray" means off the owner's premises and not under the control of a person.

26. Torment, torture and cruelty. "Torment, torture and cruelty" means every act, omission or neglect, whether by the owner or any other person, where unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death is caused or permitted.

26-A. Unorganized territory. "Unorganized territory" means all areas located within the jurisdiction of the State, except areas located within organized cities and towns, and Indian reservations. "Unorganized territory" does not include plantations.

27. Vertebrate. "Vertebrate" means a subphylum of chordate animals comprising those having a brain enclosed in a skull or cranium and a segmented spinal column, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.

28. Warrant. "Warrant" means an order of municipal officers directing a police officer, constable, sheriff or animal control officer to enter a complaint and summons against the owners or keepers of unlicensed dogs following notice of and noncompliance with a violation of law.

29. Well cared for. "Well cared for" means that the animal is receiving necessary sustenance, necessary medical attention, proper shelter, protection from the weather and humanely clean conditions and that the animal has not been nor is being injured, overworked, tormented, tortured, abandoned, poisoned, beaten, mutilated or exposed to a poison with the intent that it be taken by the animal.

30. Wolf hybrid. "Wolf hybrid" means any canine, regardless of generation, that has resulted from the interbreeding of a dog and a wolf.

3908. Governmental function
The board shall administer and exercise the authority granted to it by this Part. The carrying out of its powers and duties is considered the performance of an essential governmental function.

3909. Enforcement
Whenever, in the judgment of the commissioner, a person has engaged in or is about to engage in acts or practices that constitute or will constitute a violation of this Act or a rule, order, license, permit, approval or decision of the commissioner or a decree of court, as the case may be, the Attorney General, at the request of the commissioner, may institute proceedings before the District Court or Superior Court for an order enjoining those acts or practices, an order directing compliance or a civil or criminal action or any appropriate combination of actions. Upon a showing by the commissioner that the person has engaged or is about to engage in such an act or practice, the court may grant a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order or other order as appropriate.

Whenever, in the judgment of the board, a person has engaged in or is about to engage in acts or practices that constitute or will constitute a violation of chapter 739 or Title 17, chapter 42 as the provisions of those chapters apply to pet animals, the Attorney General or a district attorney, at the request of the board, may institute proceedings before the District Court or the Superior Court for an order enjoining those acts or practices, an order directing compliance or a civil or criminal action or any appropriate combination of actions. Upon a showing by the board that the person has engaged or is about to engage in such an act or practice, the court may grant a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order or other order as appropriate.

3910. Jurisdiction
The District Court shall have original and concurrent jurisdiction with the Superior Court of all violations of this Part. All fines and forfeitures imposed shall be paid into the treasury of the municipality where the offense or violation is committed unless otherwise provided.

3911. Dogs not to run at large
It is unlawful for any dog, licensed or unlicensed, to run at large, except when used for hunting. The owner or keeper of any dog found running at large shall be subject to the penalties provided in this chapter.

3912. Disposition of dogs at large
An animal control officer or person acting in that capacity shall seize, impound or restrain a dog found in violation of section 3911 and deliver it to an animal shelter as provided for in section 3913, subsection 2-A, or shall take the dog to its owner, if known. If ownership can not be established, such animals may be handled as stray animals for the purposes of acceptance by an approved shelter.

3913. Procedure for sick or abandoned dogs
1. Persons finding stray dogs. A person finding a stray dog and taking control of that dog shall take that dog to its owner if known or, if the owner is not known, to the animal shelter designated by the municipality in which the dog was found.

2. Repealed.

2-A. Animal shelter. An animal shelter, as defined in section 3907, to which a stray dog is taken shall accept the dog for a period of 6 days unless the shelter is in quarantine or has a bona fide lack of adequate space. The acceptance entitles the animal shelter to receive from the department the sum of $4 a day for the period for which food and shelter are furnished to the dog. An animal shelter may refuse to accept dogs from municipalities not contracting with that shelter.

3. Claims; fees. The procedure for filing claims and calculating fees is as follows.

A. On the business day next following the date of acceptance of the dog, the animal shelter shall notify the clerk of the respective municipality of the acceptance of the dog, its description and the circumstances of its finding.

B. An animal shelter that accepts a dog under this section, within 45 days of acceptance of the dog, shall submit a claim on a department-approved form to the clerk of the respective municipality for fees incurred in providing food and shelter and, upon verification of proper notification and holding period by the clerk, the animal shelter shall forward the claim to the department.

C. If the owner claims the dog within the 6-day period, the owner may have and receive the dog upon payment of all department-approved fees as provided in subsection 2-A, the municipal impoundment fee and actual fees incurred for food, shelter, veterinary care and any other fees required by this chapter for each day that the dog has been sheltered, provided that the dog is licensed in accordance with chapter 721.

4. Ownership of dog. Upon expiration of the 6-day period, ownership of the dog is vested in the animal shelter. The animal shelter may then:

A. Sell or give away the dog, but not to a research facility, if a license is first obtained in accordance with chapter 721; or

B. Otherwise dispose of the dog humanely in accordance with Title 17, chapter 42, subchapter IV, if a veterinarian determines that the dog is not adoptable due to illness. Except as provided in this section, an animal shelter must hold a dog at least 8 days before euthanasia.

Notwithstanding this subsection, ownership of a dog for the purposes of adoption is immediately vested in a shelter if the shelter makes a determination that the dog is obviously abandoned. An obviously abandoned dog does not include a dog roaming at large.

An animal shelter shall establish and collect fees for reclaimed or adopted animals to offset costs of keeping a dog beyond 6 days.

None of the proceeds obtained from the sale, donation, adoption or other disposition of the dog may be deducted from the fee claimed.

Notwithstanding subsection 3, paragraph C, the previous owner may reacquire the dog at any time prior to its sale, donation or disposal upon payment of the municipal impoundment fee and actual fees incurred for food, shelter, veterinary care and any other fees required by this chapter for each day that the dog has been sheltered. In this case, no fee may be allowed by the department.

5. Euthanasia for sick or injured dogs. A veterinarian may authorize in writing euthanasia of a sick or injured dog received by the veterinarian, by a humane agent or by an animal shelter within the State if:

A. Forty-eight hours have elapsed since receipt of the sick or injured dog by the veterinarian, by the humane agent or by an animal shelter;

B. The clerk of the respective municipality has been notified of the dog's presence in accordance with subsection 3, paragraph A, and the owner of the dog, if known, has been notified;

C. The dog is not rabid or suspected of rabies; and

D. The dog's recovery from its sickness or injury, given reasonable time and reasonable care, is doubtful.

Notwithstanding paragraphs A to D, a veterinarian may authorize immediate euthanasia if, in the veterinarian's judgment, there is no possibility of recovery for a sick or injured dog.

6. Euthanasia for severely injured animal. A veterinarian or a humane agent may authorize in writing euthanasia of a severely injured or sick animal if the following conditions are met:

A. The clerk of the municipality has been notified of the animal's presence and the owner of the animal, if known, has been notified;

B. The animal is not rabid or suspected of rabies; and

C. The animal's recovery from its injury or illness, given reasonable time and reasonable care, is doubtful.

Notwithstanding paragraphs A to C, a veterinarian may authorize immediate euthanasia if, in his judgment, there is no possibility of recovery for a severely injured or sick animal.

7. Immunity from civil liability. A veterinarian is not civilly liable to any party for authorization made in accordance with subsections 5 and 6 nor is any person performing euthanasia under that authorization.

CHAPTER 733. TRANSPORTATION OF ANIMALS

3981. Intrastate transportation of animals
1. Period of confinement. No railroad, motor truck, common carrier or its receiver, trustee or lessee which transports animals within the State or other person having the care, custody or charge of animals loaded into any such form of transportation may confine the animals in cars, boats, vehicles or vessels of any description for a period longer than 28 consecutive hours without unloading the animals in a humane manner, by means of a chute or tailgate of sufficient size, into properly equipped pens or other suitable enclosures for rest, water and feeding for a period of at least 5 consecutive hours, unless prevented by storm, accident or other unavoidable cause which cannot be anticipated or avoided by the exercise of due diligence and foresight.

In estimating the time of confinement, the time consumed in loading and unloading shall not be considered, but the time during which the animals have been confined without such rest, food or water in a car, boat, vehicle or vessel shall be included.

2. Extension of time for confinement. Upon the separate written request of the owner or person in custody of the shipment of animals, the time of confinement may be extended to 36 hours.

3. Sheep. A railroad, motor truck, common carrier or its receiver, trustee or lessee, or other person having the care, custody or charge of sheep loaded into any such form of transportation, is not required to unload sheep in the nighttime, but, when the time expires in the nighttime, the sheep may continue in transit to a suitable place of unloading not exceeding the maximum limitation of 36 hours during which they may be confined.

4. Preference of animals as freight. A railroad, motor truck and common carrier within the State shall give cars, boats, vehicles or vessels containing cattle, sheep, swine or other animals a continuous passage in preference to other freight. Cars, boats, vehicles or vessels loaded with animals at any station shall have precedence over all other freight.

5. Conditions of transportation. Cars, boats, vehicles or vessels shall be sufficiently covered or boarded on the sides and ends to afford proper protection to animals in case of storms or severe cold weather and shall be properly ventilated. A greater number of animals shall not be loaded into any car, boat, vehicle or vessel than can stand comfortably within.

No person may transport any animal in or upon any car, boat, vehicle or vessel in a cruel or inhumane manner.

6. Violation. Any person who violates this section commits a civil violation for which a forfeiture of not less than $50 nor more than $500 for every such offense may be adjudged.

7. Construction. Nothing in this chapter may be construed to prohibit the use of strike cages for dogs while in the lawful sport of hunting or in training.

CHAPTER 735. RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS

3991. Regulation of research institutions
1. License necessary. No research or teaching institution of higher education may employ live animals in scientific investigation, experiment or instruction or for the testing of drugs or medicines without first having been issued a license under this section by the commissioner. A research or teaching institution desiring to obtain a license shall make application to the commissioner. On receipt of the application, the commissioner shall make or cause to be made such investigation as it considers necessary to determine whether the public interest will be served by the issuance of the license. The commissioner may issue the license provided that the research or teaching institution, by reason of its standards, facilities, practices or activities, is a fit and proper institution to receive the license and that its issuance is in the public interest. The standards for licensure shall be those contained in the United States Code, Title 7, Section 2143, and any federal regulations issued pursuant to that law. Nothing in this chapter may be construed to be more restrictive than federal law. In the case of conflict between state law and federal law or a mandatory rule, regulation or order of the Federal Government or its agencies, the federal law, rule, regulation or order shall govern. Each research or teaching institution licensed under this chapter, before issuance of the license, shall pay to the commissioner a license fee of $50. Each license shall expire on June 30th next following the date of issue. The commissioner shall annually renew each license upon the application of the licensee, unless, after notice and hearing as provided in this chapter, it finds that, by reason of the standards, facilities, practices or activities of the licensee, the renewal is not in the public interest. The commissioner, after notice and hearing as provided in this chapter, may modify, fail to renew, suspend or revoke any license if it finds that, by reason of the standards, facilities, practices or activities of the licensee, the continuation of the license is not in the public interest.

2. Noncompliance. If, in the opinion of the commissioner, there is or may be noncompliance with or a violation of this chapter or of any rule adopted by the commissioner that is of sufficient gravity to warrant further action, the commissioner may request an informal conference with the licensee. The commissioner shall provide the licensee with adequate notice of the conference and the issues to be discussed.

If the commissioner finds that the factual basis of the alleged noncompliance with or violation of this chapter is true and may warrant further action, the commissioner:

A. With the consent of the licensee, may enter into a consent agreement which fixes the period and terms of probation best adapted to protect the health and welfare of animals and to rehabilitate or educate the licensee;

B. In consideration for acceptance of a voluntary surrender of the license, may negotiate stipulations, in a consent decree to be signed by the commissioner, the licensee and the office of the Attorney General, which ensure protection of the health and welfare of animals and which serve to rehabilitate or educate the licensee;

C. If the commissioner concludes that modification or nonrenewal of the license may be in order, shall hold an adjudicatory hearing in accordance with the Maine Administrative Procedure Act, Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter IV; or

D. If the commissioner concludes that suspension or revocation of the license is in order, shall file a complaint in the Administrative Court in accordance with Title 4, chapter 25.

3. Grounds for discipline. The following shall be grounds for an action to modify, suspend, revoke or refuse to renew the license of a person licensed under this chapter:

A. The practice of fraud or deceit in obtaining a license under this chapter or in connection with service rendered within the scope of the license issued;

B. Any violation of this chapter or any rule adopted by the commissioner; or

C. Conviction of a crime involving cruelty to animals.

4. Penalty. Any person who knowingly violates this chapter or the rules issued pursuant to this chapter commits a civil violation for which the following forfeiture may be adjudged:

A. For the first violation, a forfeiture not to exceed $100; and

B. For each subsequent violation, a forfeiture not to exceed $250.

5. Rules. The commissioner may adopt such rules as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

6. Inspection. In connection with the granting, continuance or renewal of a license and in connection with an investigation of alleged cruelty or alleged violation of this chapter or the rules issued pursuant to this chapter, the commissioner, at least annually, may visit and inspect the research and teaching institutions, animal research and care facilities of any licensee or of any research or teaching institution which has applied for a license.

CHAPTER 739. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

4011. Cruelty to animals
1. Cruelty to animals. Except as provided in subsection 1-A, a person, including an owner or the owner's agent, is guilty of cruelty to animals if that person:

A. Kills or attempts to kill any animal belonging to another person without the consent of the owner or without legal privilege;

B. Except for a licensed veterinarian or a person certified under Title 17, section 1042, kills or attempts to kill an animal by a method that does not cause instantaneous death;

C. If that person is a licensed veterinarian or a person certified under Title 17, section 1042, kills or attempts to kill an animal by a method that causes undue suffering. The commissioner shall adopt rules that define "undue suffering";

D. Injures, overworks, tortures, torments, abandons or cruelly beats or mutilates an animal; gives drugs to an animal with an intent to harm the animal; gives poison or alcohol to an animal; or exposes a poison with intent that it be taken by an animal. The owner or occupant of property is privileged to use reasonable force to eject a trespassing animal;

E. Deprives an animal that the person owns or possesses of necessary sustenance, necessary medical attention, proper shelter, protection from the weather or humanely clean conditions; or

F. Keeps or leaves a domestic animal on an uninhabited or barren island lying off the coast of the State during the month of December, January, February or March without providing necessary sustenance and proper shelter.

1-A. Animal cruelty. Except as provided in paragraphs A and B, a person is guilty of cruelty to animals if that person kills or attempts to kill a cat or dog.

A. A licensed veterinarian or a person certified under Title 17, section 1042 may kill a cat or dog according to the methods of euthanasia under Title 17, chapter 42, subchapter IV.

B. A person who owns a cat or dog, or the owner's agent, may kill that owner's cat or dog by shooting with a firearm provided the following conditions are met.

(1) The shooting is performed by a person 18 years of age or older using a weapon and ammunition of suitable caliber and other characteristics to produce instantaneous death by a single shot.

(2) Death is instantaneous.

(3) Maximum precaution is taken to protect the general public, employees and other animals.

(4) Any restraint of the cat or dog during the shooting does not cause undue suffering to the cat or dog.

2. Affirmative defenses. It is an affirmative defense to this section that:

A. The conduct was performed by a licensed veterinarian or was a part of scientific research governed by accepted standards;

B. The conduct was designed to control or eliminate rodents, ants or other common pests on the defendant's own property; or

C. The conduct involved the use of live animals as bait or in the training of other animals in accordance with the laws of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Title 12, Part 10.

Evidence of proper care of any animal shall not be admissible in the defense of alleged cruelty to other animals.

4013. Necessary sustenance
No person owning or responsible for confining or impounding any animal may fail to supply the animal with a sufficient supply of food and water as prescribed in this section.

1. Food. The food shall be of sufficient quantity and quality to maintain all animals in good health.

2. Water. If potable water is not accessible to the animal at all times, it shall be provided daily and in sufficient quantity for the health of the animal.

4014. Necessary medical attention
No person owning or responsible for confining or impounding any animal may fail to supply the animal with necessary medical attention when the animal is or has been suffering from illness, injury, disease, excessive parasitism or malformed or overgrown hoof.

4015. Proper shelter, protection from the weather and humanely clean conditions
No person owning or responsible for confining or impounding any animal may fail to provide the animal with proper shelter, protection from the weather or humanely clean conditions as prescribed in this section. In the case of farm animals, nothing in this section may be construed as imposing shelter requirements or standards more stringent than normally accepted husbandry practice in the particular county where the animal or shelter is located. For purposes of this section, horses shall not be considered farm animals.

1. Indoor standards. Minimum indoor standards of shelter shall be as follows.

A. The ambient temperature shall be compatible with the health of the animal.

B. Indoor housing facilities shall be adequately ventilated by natural or mechanical means to provide for the health of the animal at all times.

2. Outdoor standards. Minimum outdoor standards of shelter shall be as follows.

A. When sunlight is likely to cause heat exhaustion of an animal tied or caged outside, sufficient shade by natural or artificial means shall be provided to protect the animal from direct sunlight. As used in this paragraph, "caged" does not include farm fencing used to confine farm animals.

B. Shelter from inclement weather shall be as follows.

(1) An artificial shelter with a minimum of 3 sides and a waterproof roof appropriate to the local climatic conditions for the species concerned shall be provided as necessary for the health of the animal.

(2) If a dog is tied or confined unattended outdoors under weather conditions which adversely affect the health of the dog, a shelter of suitable size with a floor above ground and waterproof roof shall be provided to accommodate the dog and protect it from the weather and, in particular, from severe cold. Inadequate shelter may be indicated by the shivering of the dog due to cold weather for a continuous period of 30 minutes.

C. No animal may be confined in a building, enclosure, car, boat, vehicle or vessel of any kind when extreme heat or extreme cold will be harmful to its health.

3. Space standards. Minimum space requirements for both indoor and outdoor enclosures shall include the following.

A. The housing facilities shall be structurally sound and maintained in good repair to protect the animal from injury and to contain the animal.

B. Enclosures shall be constructed and maintained to provide sufficient space to allow each animal adequate freedom of movement. Inadequate space may be indicated by evidence of overcrowding, debility, stress or abnormal behavior patterns.

4. Humanely clean conditions. Minimum standards of sanitation necessary to provide humanely clean conditions for both indoor and outdoor enclosures shall include periodic cleanings to remove excretions and other waste materials, dirt and trash to minimize health hazards.

4016. Violation
Any person who violates this chapter commits a civil violation for which a forfeiture of not less than $100 or more than $1,000 for each offense must be adjudged and for which such other relief as may be necessary to restore the animal to good health or to ameliorate the effects of cruelty and to ensure that the animal is well cared for may be ordered.

SUBCHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

1012. Unlawful sale, consignment or rental of diseased horses
1. Unlawful sale, consignment or rental of diseased horses. A person is guilty of unlawful sale, consignment or rental of diseased horses if that person receives, offers for sale or sells at private sale or public auction, consigns or rents any horse which, by reason of debility, disease or lameness or for other cause could not be worked in the State without violating the laws against cruelty to animals.

2. Penalty. Unlawful sale, consignment or rental of diseased horses is a Class E crime.

3. Violation. Any licensed auctioneer violating this section may be punished by loss of license in addition to other penalties provided by law.

4. Exception. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the sale to or the purchase of horses by humane societies.

1013. Unlawful production of motion pictures
1. Unlawful production of motion pictures. A person is guilty of unlawful production of motion pictures if he knowingly or intentionally prepares, manufactures, makes or participates in the preparation, manufacture or making of any motion picture film or videotape production involving cruelty to animals during the course of preparation, manufacture, making or exhibition of the motion picture film or videotape production.

2. Penalty. Unlawful production of motion pictures is a Class E crime.

1021. Possession of animals
1. Possession. A humane agent, sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, police officer, animal control officer, person authorized to make arrests or, in a case involving a pet animal, the board may apply to the District Court or the Superior Court for authorization:

A. To take possession of any maimed, disabled, diseased, dehydrated, malnourished or injured animal or any animal whose owner has cruelly abandoned or cruelly treated it and turn over the animal to the applicant or other suitable person; or

B. To cause the animal to be disposed of humanely.

2. Notice to owner. If the owner is known, a copy of the application must be served upon the owner with an order of court to appear at a stated time and place to show cause why the animal should not be taken and turned over to the applicant or other suitable person or disposed of humanely.

If the owner can not be found by reasonable diligence, or is out of state although a resident of this State, a copy of the application and order of court must be left at the owner's last and usual place of abode.

If the owner is not known, then the court shall order a notice to be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the animal was found, stating the case and circumstances and giving 48 hours notice of the hearing.

3. Hearing. If it appears at the hearing that the animal has been cruelly abandoned or cruelly treated by its owner or the animal is maimed, disabled, diseased, dehydrated, malnourished or injured, the court shall:

A. Direct the applicant or other suitable person to take possession of and provide for the animal, order its sale, adoption, donation or return of the animal to its owner; or

B. Order the animal to be disposed of humanely if, given reasonable time and care, the animal's recovery is doubtful.

4. Ex parte order. An ex parte order shall be as follows.

A. A state humane agent, sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, police officer, animal control officer, person authorized to make arrests or, in a case involving a pet animal, the board may apply to the District Court, Superior Court or a justice of the peace for an ex parte order for authorization to take possession of any maimed, disabled, diseased, dehydrated, malnourished or injured animal or any animal whose owner has cruelly abandoned or cruelly treated it and turn it over to the applicant or any other suitable person. An order may be entered ex parte upon findings by the court or justice of the peace that there is a reasonable likelihood that:

An order may be entered ex parte upon findings by the court or justice of the peace that there is a reasonable likelihood that:

(1) The defendant is not subject to the jurisdiction of the court for the purposes of a hearing or the owner cannot be found by reasonable deligence or is out-of-state although a resident of this State, and there is a danger that unless immediate action is taken:

(a) The condition of an injured, overworked, tormented, tortured, abandoned, poisoned or mutilated animal, animal deprived of necessary sustenance, necessary medical attention, proper shelter or protection from the weather or humanely clean conditions will be substantially impaired or worsened;

(b) The animal's life will be jeopardized; or

(c) A great degree of medical attention will be necessary to restore the animal to a normal, healthy condition;

(2) There is a clear danger that if the owner or his agent is notified in advance of the issuance of the order of court, as provided in subsection 3, he may remove the animal from the State, conceal it or otherwise make it unavailable;

(3) There is immediate danger that the owner or his agent will kill or injure the animal; or

(4) An animal is being or has been injured, overworked, tormented, tortured, abandoned, poisoned, mutilated, deprived of necessary sustenance, necessary medical attention, proper shelter or protection from the weather or humanely clean conditions and, unless an ex parte order issues allowing the applicant to take possession of the animal, the animal will die, its condition will be substantially impaired or worsened or medical attention will be necessary to restore the animal to a normal, healthy condition.

B. This subsection does not apply to animals currently being well cared for when euthanasia is necessary due to old age or to a person's conduct designed to control or eliminate rodents, ants or other common pests.

C. On 2 days' notice or such shorter period as the court may prescribe, the applicant who obtained the ex parte order or the owner whose animal has been possessed pursuant to an ex parte order may appear in the District Court or Superior Court and move the dissolution or modification of the ex parte order.

The court shall hear and determine the motion as expeditiously as justice requires.

The moving party shall submit an affidavit setting forth specific facts to substantiate such findings as would serve to modify or dissolve the order. The opposing party shall have the burden of presenting evidence to substantiate the original findings.

5. Seizure for observation and examination. Seizure of animals for observation and examination is as follows.

A. Whenever a humane agent, a state veterinarian or a person authorized to make arrests, or, in a case involving a pet animal, the board, has reason to believe that an animal may be disabled, diseased, dehydrated or malnourished, the board, humane agent, state veterinarian or person shall apply to the District Court or Superior Court for authorization to take possession of the animal and turn it over to the applicant or other suitable person for examination and observation for a 30-day period. At the end of 30 days, the court must receive a report from the person in possession of the animal and either dissolve the possession order or set the matter for hearing within 30 days.

B. If the owner is known, the owner must be advised of the time and place of hearing and asked to show cause why the animal should not be seized permanently or disposed of humanely.

C. If the court finds at the hearing that the animal is disabled, diseased, dehydrated or malnourished, the court shall:

(1) Declare the animal forfeited and order its sale, adoption or donation; or

(2) Order the animal to be disposed of humanely if, given reasonable time and care, the animal's recovery is doubtful.

5-A. Seizure by state humane agent or state veterinarian without court order. A state humane agent or a state veterinarian who has reasonable cause to believe that a violation of section 1031 or 1032 has taken place or is taking place may take possession of the cruelly treated animal. Upon taking possession of an animal under this section, the humane agent or the state veterinarian shall present the owner with a notice that:

A. States the reason for seizure;

B. Gives the name, address and phone number of the humane agent or the state veterinarian to contact for information regarding the animal; and

C. Advises the owner of the ensuing court procedure.

If the owner can not be found, the humane agent or the state veterinarian shall send a copy of the notice to the owner at the owner's last known address by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the owner is not known or can not be located, the humane agent or the state veterinarian shall contact the animal shelter or shelters used by the municipality in which the animal was found. The humane agent or the state veterinarian shall provide the shelter with a description of the animal, the date of seizure and the name of a person to contact for more information.

Within 3 working days of possession of the animal, the humane agent or the state veterinarian shall apply to the court for a possession order. The court shall set a hearing date and that hearing date must be within 10 days of the date the animal was seized. The humane agent or the state veterinarian shall arrange care for the animal, including medical treatment, if necessary, pending the hearing.

The humane agent or the state veterinarian shall notify the owner, if located, of the time and place of the hearing. If the owner has not been located, the court shall order a notice to be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the animal was found stating the case and circumstances and giving 48 hours notice of the hearing.

It is the owner's responsibility at the hearing to show cause why the animal should not be seized permanently or disposed of humanely. If it appears at the hearing that the animal has been cruelly abandoned or cruelly treated by its owner, the court shall declare the animal forfeited and order its sale, adoption or donation or order the animal to be disposed of humanely if a veterinarian determines that the animal is diseased or disabled beyond recovery.

6. Attachment and enforcement of lien. Attachment and enforcement of liens shall be as follows.

A. Any person taking possession of an animal as provided in this subchapter shall have a lien for expenses as provided in this subsection unless the complaint is dismissed for lack of merit. If the complaint is dismissed for lack of merit, the board and the municipality where the possession occurred may share in paying the lienor's expenses.

B. Expenses covered by this subsection include expenses reasonably incident to taking an animal into custody such as transportation, food, shelter, veterinary care and expenses of disposing of an animal taken into custody.

C. The lienor may enforce the lien in the same manner as enforcements of liens on personal property pursuant to Title 10, chapter 631. In giving judgment for the lien, the court shall include expenses as set forth in paragraph B, incurred by the lienor from the date of commencement of proceedings to the entry of judgment or final disposition of the animal as ordered by the court.

In the event of the sale of the animal, all expenses incurred in transporting, taking, keeping and caring for the animal shall be deducted from the sale price and the balance, if any, turned over to the owner.

D. The defendant may appeal as in a civil action, but before appeal is allowed, the defendant shall give sufficient security to satisfy the applicant or person taking custody of the animal that he will pay all expenses for its care and support pending appeal.

1022. Prevention of cruelty
The commissioner or any person authorized to make arrests may lawfully interfere to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty upon an animal in that person's presence. The board may lawfully interfere to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty upon a pet animal.

1023. Investigation and reporting of cruelty
1. Investigation. Sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, police officers, constables, animal control officers and humane agents shall investigate cases of cruelty to animals coming to their attention and report them to the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources on department-approved forms. The department shall refer all cases of cruelty to pet animals to the board. Upon completion of an investigation, the board for a case involving a pet animal and the department for any other case shall, if requested, report the result of the investigation to the person complaining of alleged cruelty.

2. Commissioner role. The commissioner has responsibility for the investigation of any complaints received that involve commercial farmers, harness racing horses, animals used in pulling events or any animal other than a pet animal as defined in section 1011. When conducting an investigation, the commissioner shall determine if acceptable animal husbandry practices are or were complied with and shall make recommendations accordingly.

1031. Cruelty to animals
1. Cruelty to animals. Except as provided in subsection 1-A, a person, including an owner or the owner's agent, is guilty of cruelty to animals if that person:

A. Kills or attempts to kill any animal belonging to another person without the consent of the owner or without legal privilege;

B. Except for a licensed veterinarian or a person certified under section 1042, kills or attempts to kill an animal by a method that does not cause instantaneous death;

C. If that person is a licensed veterinarian or a person certified under section 1042, kills or attempts to kill an animal by a method that causes undue suffering. The commissioner shall adopt rules that define "undue suffering";

D. Injures, overworks, tortures, torments, abandons or cruelly beats or mutilates an animal; gives drugs to an animal with an intent to harm the animal; gives poison or alcohol to an animal; or exposes a poison with intent that it be taken by an animal. The owner or occupant of property is privileged to use reasonable force to eject a trespassing animal;

E. Deprives an animal that the person owns or possesses of necessary sustenance, necessary medical attention, proper shelter, protection from the weather or humanely clean conditions; or

F. Keeps or leaves a domestic animal on an uninhabited or barren island lying off the coast of the State during the month of December, January, February or March without providing necessary sustenance and proper shelter.

1-A. Animal cruelty. Except as provided in paragraphs A and B, a person is guilty of cruelty to animals if that person kills or attempts to kill a cat or dog.

A. A licensed veterinarian or a person certified under section 1042 may kill a cat or dog according to the methods of euthanasia under chapter 42, subchapter IV.

B. A person who owns a cat or dog, or the owner's agent, may kill that owner's cat or dog by shooting with a firearm provided the following conditions are met.

(1) The shooting is performed by a person 18 years of age or older using a weapon and ammunition of suitable caliber and other characteristics to produce instantaneous death by a single shot.

(2) Death is instantaneous.

(3) Maximum precaution is taken to protect the general public, employees and other animals.

(4) Any restraint of the cat or dog during the shooting does not cause undue suffering.

2. Affirmative defense. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that:

A. The defendant's conduct conformed to accepted veterinary practice or was a part of scientific research governed by accepted standards;

B. The defendant's conduct or that of his agent was designed to control or eliminate rodents, ants or other common pests on his own property; or

C. The defendant's conduct involved the use of live animals as bait or in the training of other animals in accordance with the laws of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Title 12, Part 10.

Evidence of proper care of any animal shall not be admissible in the defense of alleged cruelty to other animals.

3. Penalty. Cruelty to animals is a Class D crime. In addition to any other penalty authorized by law, the court shall impose a fine of not less than $100 for each violation of this section.

4. Criminal or civil prosecution. A person may be arrested or detained for the crime of cruelty to animals in accordance with the rules of criminal procedure. No person may be arrested or detained for the civil violation of cruelty to animals. The attorney for the State shall elect to charge a defendant with the crime of cruelty to animals under this section or the civil violation of cruelty to animals under Title 7, section 4011. In making this election, the attorney for the State shall consider the severity of the cruelty displayed, the number of animals involved, any prior convictions or adjudications of animal cruelty entered against the defendant and such other factors as may be relevant to a determination of whether criminal or civil sanctions will best accomplish the goals of the animal welfare laws in the particular case before the attorney for the State. The election and determination required by this subsection shall not be subject to judicial review. The factors involved in such election and determination are not elements of the criminal offense or civil violation of animal cruelty and are not subject to proof or disproof as prerequisites or conditions for conviction under this subsection or adjudication under Title 7, section 4011.

1034. Application for search warrant
A law enforcement officer or humane agent, having probable cause to believe that a violation of section 1031, 1032 or 1033 has taken place or is taking place, shall enter the premises where the animal is kept with the consent of the owner or shall make application for a search warrant. If the judge or justice of the peace is satisfied that probable cause exists, he shall issue a search warrant directing a law enforcement officer or humane agent in the county to proceed immediately to the location of the alleged violation and directing the law enforcement officer or humane agent to search the place designated in the warrant, retaining in his custody, subject to the order of the court, such property or things as specified in the warrant, including any animal.

1035. Necessary sustenance
No person owning or responsible for confining or impounding any animal may fail to supply the animal with a sufficient supply of food and water as prescribed in this section.

1. Food. The food shall be of sufficient quantity and quality to maintain all animals in good health.

2. Water. If potable water is not accessible to the animal at all times, it shall be provided daily and in sufficient quantity for the health of the animal.

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