Maine’s Convoluted Path to Statewide Ban

Maine is the third state In the US to ban puppy mill sales. Fourth in the world after the Australian state of Victoria.

The state allows puppy mill stores that were in operation in May 2019 to continue, but they cannot expand past the number of sales per year of the 2019 level.

Not many puppy stores in Maine. There’s this nightmare, but hopefully the only one. And perhaps protestors will shame them into closing.

LePageBoth houses of Maine’s legislature passed a bill prohibiting the sales of dogs and cats in 2015 while evil Governor Paul LePage sat on the Governor’s chair.

Had he signed the bill or passed it into law without signing, Maine’s would have been the first statewide ban in the world: the first in the US by 2 years (CA passed in late 2017) and beating out the first statewide ban in the world by a few months: Victoria, Australia, passed in the closing days of 2017.

Governors typically have 4 ways of dealing with a bill:

  1. Sign it into law
  2. Pass it into law without signing it
  3. Do nothing: do not sign and do not pass into law (next Gov could sign)
  4. Veto, effectively killing the bill

Monster Governor, Paul LePage, chose Door #3 and the bill languished.

ChrisieOh so reminiscent of (twin brother?) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie choosing Door #4 for his state even after an overwhelming passage in both houses in March of 2017.

In November 2019, a new Governor was elected by the good people of Maine. Gov. Janet Mills also sat on this and many other “no action” bills on her brand new desk for a full year until January 12, 2020, when she opted for Door #2: move the bill to law.

Gov. Janet Mills did not sign the bill, effectively saying she didn’t necessarily approve of the bill, but since it passed both houses she thought it should become public law.

Mills
Governor Janet T. Mills passed puppy mill store prohibition into law twelve months after taking office in January 2019.

Another blue state!

Other states are doing the same.

Read about them in Landslide of Statewide Bans if OR, CO, WI, MA, PA, ME, & NY Pass Pending Bills

Average bans per year just bumped to 33

We track average bans per year since the first activist ban targeting a puppy store was passed by the hard work of Dawn Armstrong, then Executive Director of South Lake Tahoe Humane Society, which no longer exists. 1

Dawn and the whole community were disgusted by the puppy store there, Brock’s Pups, run by the Franks family, grandfather and grandson, who also owned Lil’ Pups in Carson City and Pets R Us in Meadowood Mall, Reno.

The day Dawn got the ordinance passed, the language of which is still largely in use to this day, the Franks were lead out of Brocks’ Pups in handcuffs for 1). Drug trafficking to minors for which ol’ man Franks was sent up the river for 6 years; and, 2). Parole violations.

Since that fateful day that started a movement, 364 bans have been passed in total, 41 have been passed in 2019, which just bested the previous year, and our average bans per year popped from 32 to 33.

https://puppymillfree.us

We do have to note, however, we’re only at 40% of the bans passed in the single year 2016 and at just over 10% of the total bans passed. And so far, with the clock ticking to the end of the year, no statewide bans have yet been passed in 2019.

Good news, though: one COUNTRYWIDE ban passed this year, in England, with 2 more on the way in Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland may join soon, though no action has yet been taken.


1 Dawn Armstrong told us in 2013 when we interviewed her at the start of Puppy Mill Free Reno and our tracking sites Puppy Mill Free US and End Puppy Mills World, that she was able to retire in peace and tranquility now that her work was being duplicated not only all over her home state of California, but was finding passage throughout the US and into Canada.

When Ms. Armstrong left in 2013, Niki Congero was hired as Executive Director. We spoke with her on several occasions regarding animal welfare issues at the lake, but didn’t get a satisfactory response.

Three years later, news broke that Congero had been arrested for embezzlement of the South Lake Tahoe Humane Society, by running up charges to the limit of the credit line of the non-profit. That limit was $60,000. Much of it went to personal expenses, included a gambling jones for which the SLTHS footed the bill.

The organization was not able to recover. The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, a merger in and of itself, absorbed the SLT HS and now runs shelters all around the lake and the nearby High Sierra town of Truckee, California; which, by the way, passed the 124th ban in February 2016.

Landslide of Statewide Bans if OR, CO, WI, MA, PA, ME, & NY Pass Pending Bills

This is an ongoing post to be updated through the months…

7 States with statewide bans on the table.

Update: 1/2020

1 down! 6 States with statewide bans on the table.

Maine Governor Janet T. Mills moved the 6/2019 legislation to law on 1/12/2020. Details under the Maine section below.

Massachusetts

House bill 800: An Act banning the retail sale of cats and dogs in pet shops

Senate bill 175: An Act banning the retail sale of cats and dogs in pet shops

New York

At a time where there are healthy and loving pets waiting to be adopted from animal shelters statewide, there is simply no reason to allow the sale of puppy mill animals. Puppy mill animals are mistreated from birth, and often develop behavioral or physical health problems later in life despite their high price tags. This bill would encourage the adoption of dogs, cats and rabbits and ensure that animals no longer have to face the cruelty, physical and psychological abuse to which the puppy mill supply chain subjects animals.

Assembly bill status New York

Oregon

Prohibits retail pet store from selling or offering to sell dog other than dog acquired from animal shelter, humane society, dog control district or nonprofit corporation that provides rescue services.

House bill 4045.

Wisconsin

This bill prohibits a pet store from selling dogs and cats beginning on January 1, 2020. A person who violates this prohibition is subject to a civil forfeiture of up to $10,000 for the first offense and up to $25,000 for the second or any subsequent
offense.

Assembly Bill 298

Pennsylvania

An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing for transfer and sale of animals.

Senate Bill 44

Maine

Maine was the first state to pass a ban on sale of dogs and cats through their legislature, but controversial governor LePage refused to sign the bill. It’s now in the hands of new governor Mills, but it’s not clear if she will sign.

Gov. Janet Mills should sign L.D. 1311. It will effectively impact puppy mills by shrinking the marketplace and drive Maine’s pet market towards more humane sources.

Pet store law would protect animals

A person may not advertise for sale, sell or exchange for value more than one cat or dog under the age of 6 months in a 12-month period unless that person has a valid animal shelter, kennel, or breeding kennel  or pet shop license or a valid vendor’s license issued under this section.

Sec. 11.  7 MRSA § 4153.  Sale prohibited

Colorado

Legislators and the Gubernatorial mansion ally against puppy mills.

“I’m honored to be partnering with First Gentleman Reis to shed light on the abhorrent conditions at puppy mills,” said Rep. Duran, D-Wheat Ridge.“Every dog deserves to live in happiness and safety. Our furry friends demand very little in exchange for unconditional love and attention, and I look forward to taking action to address the inhumane treatment of animals in our state.”

First Gentleman Reis and Representative Duran are exploring legislative proposals to ensure the health and safety of dogs and cats.

On Puppy Mill Awareness Day, Rep. Duran & First Gentleman Reis Draw Attention to the Need to Protect Our Canine Friends. Article.

But after a recent exposé of sick and dying puppies at a store that has had puppy deaths not long after sales dating back to 2002, legislation ending puppy and kitten sales in Colorado now seems to be on a fast track.

Pet Store Ban? Talks Underway After More Than A Decade Of Complaints About Sick Puppies

Others

NEVADA

Other states bringing up the issue so far include Nevada. State Legislature there meets only every two years. Next legislative session, February 2021.

A Bill Draft will be submitted to end the sales of dogs, cats, rabbits in retail stores in the state of Nevada by Senator Julia Ratti.

ARIZONA

Arizona doesn’t have a state ban in the pipe, but there is a provision to end the statewide prohibition of local bans, which would allow the two bands in Phoenix and Tempe, which are still written into their municipal code, to become immediately enforceable. Tucson, Arizona, was on the eve of passing a local ban when the state law took effect. Ending the state prohibition of local bans would see passage of the Tucson ban occur soon thereafter.

…Includes a repeal of the prohibition of local retail store bans. Phoenix and Tempe city ordinances are still on the books, made unenforceable by state law. If 2329 passes with repeal intact, Phoenix and Tempe will not only enforce, but Tucson has been holding a city ordinance in the ready for when they will be able to enforce it.

House Bill 2329