Maine is a beautiful state, known for lobster, blueberries, and Stephen King. Now, to add to their already positive notoriety, Maine is on the cusp of being the first state to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores.
Widespread attention came to the cause after a video filmed by concerned citizen Lauren Kennedy showed the horrible conditions of the Little Paws pet shop, where 3 dogs had died from canine parvovirus. The shuttering of Little Paws helped ramp up the movement, spearheaded by Maine Citizens Against Puppy Mills (MCAPM).
The MCAPM began in 1999 with Lynne Fracassi, a passionate animal lover who was disgusted with the support pet stores gave to puppy mills. MCAPM went from a handful of activists to 2500 today. When they began their quest to save animals, there were 7 pet shops that sold animals from mills. Now, 2 have closed, and political intervention may take down the last 5. While a tiny number compared to the nearly 9,000 shops that sell animals from mills, a state eliminating the practice would be monumental.
The bill, LD #355, would prohibit the selling of dogs and cats in pet stores, and has been in the making since 2012. The MCAPM has been working on the language and sponsorship of the bill, with the goal of presenting it during this legislative session. During the hearing in front of Maine lawmakers, who will decide if the bill will be presented to the full state legislature, dozens of backers filled the chamber, offset by 6 opposing citizens, including pet store owners. If the bill is introduced, it could be voted on as soon as this year.
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