WINDHAM POLICE DEPARTMENT
Non-Emergency Telephone: (207) 892-2525
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00a.m. to 4:30p.m.
Joseph Payton - ACO
The Animal Control officer is a Civilian member of the Police Department who is responsible for the overall enforcement of the Municipal and State Animal Welfare Laws. He responses to calls relating to domesticated animals and has a limited role when handling wild animals. Them main concern with the wild animals is rabies protection.
All stray animals picked up by the Animal Control Officer are taken to the Animal Refuge League (ARL) at 449 Stroudwater Street, Westbrook. In order for you to retrieve your animal a $15.00/day fee is charged as well as a administrative fee of $25 for the first offense, $50 for a second offense and $100 for three or more offenses. These fees along with other fees many change at anytime, so you should contact the ARL at 854-9771 to determine what you will be charged to recover your animal.
Other wildlife problems are handled by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. A Game Warden can be reached at the telephone number of 657-2345
Below are some of the animal control laws to provide you with some basic information on the laws the ACO commonly enforces. Because the laws in the State of Maine change on a frequent basis you should consult the Maine Revised Statues Annotated under: TITLE 7: AGRICULTURE AND ANIMALS.
License and Recording Fees
Dogs at Large
Disposition of Dogs at Large
Keeping Dangerous Dog
Common Animal Welfare Laws
Reimbursement for Damage by Dogs
Damage to Livestock or Pets by Dogs
Cruelty to Animals
Cruelty to Birds
Animal and Trespass
Rabies Vaccination for Cats
Title 7 Section 3922 Issuance of License
1. License; January 1st. Each owner or keeper of a dog at the age of 6 months or more, on or before January lst of each year, shall obtain a license:
A. From the clerk of the municipality where the dog is kept;
B. From the dog recorder in the unorganized territory where the dog is kept or, in the absence of a duly authorized dog recorder, from a dog
recorder in the nearest municipality or unorganized territory in the same county where the dog is kept;
C. From a veterinary licensing agent in accordance with section 3923-F; or
D. From the department using the Internet in accordance with section 3923-G.
2. License; after January 1st. The owner or keeper, within 10 days of the conditions of paragraph A or B being met, shall obtain a license, if between January lst and October 15th of any year:
A. A dog reaches the age of 6 months or more; or
B. A person becomes the owner or keeper of a dog aged 6 months or more.
3. Proof of immunization. Except as provided in subsection 3-A, a municipal clerk may not issue a license for a dog until the applicant has filed with the clerk proof that the dog has been immunized against rabies in accordance with rules adopted by the Commissioner of Health and Human Services, except that the requirement of immunization may be waived by the clerk under conditions set forth by the Commissioner of Health and Human Services.
The commissioner shall adopt rules that allow the clerk and the commissioner to accept valid proof of immunization against rabies provided by another state.
3-A. Exception to immunization requirement for wolf hybrids. If a person applying for a license declares that the dog is a wolf hybrid, a municipal clerk may issue a license without proof that the dog has been immunized against rabies. In accordance with subsection 5, the license issued for the dog must state that the dog is a wolf hybrid.
3-B. Proof of permanent identification. A municipal clerk may not issue a license for a wolf hybrid until the applicant has filed with the clerk proof that the wolf hybrid has been permanently dentified in accordance with section 3921-A.
4. Trained guide dogs. If a trained dog has not been previously registered or licensed by the municipal clerk to whom the application is being made, the clerk shall not register the dog nor issue to its owner or keeper a license and tag unless written evidence is provided that the dog is trained and educated and intended to perform guide service for the applicant.
5. Form of license. The license must state the breed, sex, color and markings of the dog, whether the animal is a dog or wolf hybrid and the name and address of the owner or keeper. If the person applying for a license declares that the dog is a wolf hybrid, the license must state that the dog is a wolf hybrid. The license must be issued in triplicate and the original must be given to the applicant and the remaining 2 copies must be retained by the municipal clerk or dog recorder.[1997, c. 704, §9
6. Designation of wolf hybrid. An owner or keeper of a dog declared as a wolf hybrid may not change the license designation. A dog that has been declared a wolf hybrid must be treated as a wolf hybrid in accordance with Title 22, chapter 251, subchapter V.
Title 7 Section 3923-A License and recording fees
Except as provided in subsection 3 and section 3923-C, a dog owner or keeper obtaining a license from a municipal clerk or dog recorder shall pay the license and recording fees established in this section.
1. Dogs capable of producing young. A dog owner or keeper shall pay a fee of $10 to the municipal clerk for each dog 6 months of age or older and capable of producing young. A dog is considered capable of producing young unless certification under subsection 2 is provided. The municipal clerk shall retain a $1 recording fee and pay the remaining $9 to the department for deposit in the Animal Welfare Fund.
2. Dogs incapable of producing young. A dog owner shall pay a fee of $6 to the municipal clerk or to a veterinary licensing agent for each dog 6 months of age or older and incapable of producing young. A dog is considered incapable of producing young when the owner provides the following:
A. A written certificate issued by a veterinarian stating that the veterinarian has neutered the dog;
B. A written certificate issued by a veterinarian stating that the veterinarian has examined the dog and determined that the dog is incapable of producing young; or
C. A previous license stating that the dog is incapable of producing young.
The municipal clerk shall retain a $1 recording fee, deposit $2 in the municipality's animal welfare account established in accordance with section 3945 and pay the remaining $3 to the department for deposit in the Animal Welfare Fund.
3. Exemption from fees. A municipal clerk or a veterinary licensing agent shall issue a license upon application and without payment of a license fee required under this section for:
A. A trained guide dog owned or kept by a visually impaired person or such a dog awaiting training;
B. A trained hearing dog owned or kept by a hearing-impaired person or such a dog awaiting training;
C. A trained service dog owned or kept by a physically impaired person or such a dog awaiting training
D. A trained search and rescue dog recognized by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife or by the statewide association of search and rescue that
cooperates with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in developing standards for search and rescue or such a dog awaiting training; and
E. A dog certified by the State and used for law enforcement purposes.
4. Late fees. An owner or keeper required to license a dog under section 3922, subsection 1 or section 3923-C, subsection 1 and applying for a license for that dog after January 31st shall pay to the municipal clerk or dog recorder a late fee of $15 in addition to the annual license fee paid in accordance with subsection 1 or 2 and section 3923-C, subsection 1. The clerk or dog recorder shall deposit all late fees collected under this subsection into the municipality's animal welfare account established in accordance with section 3945.
An owner or keeper whose name appears on a municipal warrant issued in accordance with section 3943 must pay the late fee of $25 required by that section and is not subject to this subsection.
Title 7 Section 3923-B Tags and stickers
1. Tags and stickers. The municipal clerk shall provide with each new license issued under section 3923-A a tag indicating the year the license is issued and bearing other information prescribed by the department. The tag remains with the dog for as long as the dog is kept in the licensing municipality. At each license renewal, the municipal clerk shall provide a sticker indicating the year for which the license is valid. The sticker must be attached to the back of the tag. The owner or keeper shall make sure that the tag is securely attached to a collar of leather, metal or material of comparable strength and that the collar is worn at all times by the dog for which the license was issued, except as provided in subsection 3.
If a sticker and tag are lost or the owner has moved to a different municipality, the owner or keeper of the dog shall obtain a new license, tag and sticker. The municipal clerk shall issue another license, tag and sticker upon presentation of the original license and payment of $1. The clerk shall retain the $1 for a recording fee.
2-A. Rabies tags. An owner shall ensure that a rabies tag obtained from a veterinarian for immunization against rabies is securely attached to a collar of leather, metal or material of comparable strength and that the collar is worn at all times by the dog for which the rabies tag was issued, except as provided in subsection 3.
3. Exceptions. A dog is not required to wear a tag when on the premises of the owner or off the premises of the owner while hunting, in training or in an exhibition. When a dog is hunting, in training or in an exhibition, its owner or keeper shall produce proof of licensure and proof of rabies immunization within 24 hours upon request by a humane agent, animal control officer or law enforcement officer, including a game warden.
Title 7 Section 3911 Dogs not to Run at Large
It is unlawful for any dog, licensed or unlicensed, to be at large, except when used for hunting. The owner or keeper of any dog found at large is subject to the penalties provided in this chapter.
Title 7 Section 3912 Disposition of Dogs at Large
1. Ownership of dog unknown. Except as provided in subsection 2, 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. If ownership can not be established, such a dog may be handled as a stray dog for the purpose of acceptance by an animal shelter.
2. Ownership of dog known. An animal control officer or person acting in that capacity shall seize, impound or restrain a dog found in violation of section 3911 and, if the owner is known, shall:
A. Take the dog to its owner; or
B. Deliver it to an animal shelter as provided in section 3913. An animal shelter receiving a dog in accordance with this paragraph shall follow the procedure for
Stray for stray dogs provided in section 3913.
Title 7 Section 3913 Procedure for Stray 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. Dog shelters.
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 for
which food and shelter are furnished to the dog. An animal shelter may refuse to accept dogs from municipalities not contracting with that animal 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 a dog that is not delivered by an animal control officer or person acting in that capacity, the animal shelter shall notify the animal control officer or person acting in that capacity 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 department for fees incurred in providing food and shelter and the animal shelter shall forward a copy of the claim to the clerk of the respective municipality.
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. 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 an animal shelter if the animal 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.
6. Euthanasia for severely sick, severely injured or extremely vicious dog. A humane agent, an animal control officer or an animal shelter within the State may
authorize in writing immediate euthanasia of a severely sick, severely injured or extremely vicious dog upon determining that the following conditions are met:
A. The clerk or animal control officer of the municipality where the dog was found has been notified of the dog's presence and the owner of the dog, if known, has been notified; and
B. [1997, c. 690, §11 (rp).]
C. A veterinarian states in writing that the dog's recovery from its injury or illness, given reasonable time and reasonable care, is doubtful or that the dog presents a danger to the public.
Notwithstanding paragraphs A to C, a veterinarian may authorize immediate euthanasia if, in the veterinarian's judgment, there is no possibility of recovery for a severely injured or sick animal.
7. Immunity from civil liability. A veterinarian, a humane agent, an animal control officer or an animal shelter is not civilly liable to any party for authorization made in accordance with subsection 6 nor is any person performing euthanasia under that authorization.
Title 7 Section 3952 Keeping a dangerous dog
A person who owns or keeps a dangerous dog commits a civil violation for which the court shall adjudge a fine of not less than $250 and not more than $1,000, plus cost none of which may be suspended
1. Procedure. Any person who is assaulted or threatened with imminent bodily injury by a dog or any person witnessing an assault or threatened assault against a person or domesticated animal or a person with knowledge of an assault or threatened assault against a minor, within 30 days of the assault or threatened assault, may make written complaint to the sheriff, local law enforcement officer or animal control officer that the dog is a dangerous dog.
Upon investigation of the complaint, the sheriff, local law enforcement officer or animal control officer may issue a civil violation summons for keeping a dangerous dog.
If, upon hearing, the court finds that the dog is a dangerous dog as defined in section 3907, subsection 12-D, the court may impose a civil forfeiture and shall:
A. Order the dog muzzled, restrained, confined to the premises of its owner or keeper or confined in a secure enclosure. The court may set standards for that enclosure; or
B. Order the dog to be euthanatized if it has killed, maimed or inflicted serious bodily injury upon a person or has a history of a prior assault. The court may order restitution in accordance with Title 17-A, chapter 54 for any damages inflicted upon a person or a person's property.
2. Failure to abide by court order. If the court order in subsection 1, paragraph B, is not complied with within the time set by the court, the court may, upon application by the complainant or other person, issue a warrant to the county sheriff or any of the sheriff's deputies or to a police officer or constable in the municipality where the dog is found, commanding the officer to kill the dog immediately and make a return of the warrant to the court within 14 days from the date of the warrant.
The owner or keeper must be ordered to pay all costs of supplementary proceedings and all reasonable costs for seizure and euthanasia of the dog.
3. Dogs presenting immediate threat to public. After issuing a summons and before hearing, if the dog poses an immediate or continuing threat to the public, a sheriff, local law enforcement officer or animal control officer shall order the owner or keeper of the dog to muzzle, restrain or confine the dog to the owner's premises or to have the dog confined at the owner's expense at a place determined by the sheriff, local law enforcement officer or animal control officer. If the owner or keeper fails to comply, the sheriff, local law enforcement officer or animal control officer may apply to District Court, Superior Court or a justice of the peace for an ex parte order for authorization to take possession of the dog that poses an immediate or continuing threat to the public and turn the dog over to the applicant or other suitable person.
4. Court action; ex parte.[1999, c. 350, §2 (rp).
4-A. Ex parte. An order may be entered ex parte upon findings by the court or justice of the peace when:
A. The dog has inflicted a serious bodily injury as defined in Title 17-A, section 2, subsection 23; or
B. There is a reasonable likelihood that the dog is dangerous or vicious and:
(1) Its owner has failed to muzzle, restrain or confine the dog; and
(2) That failure poses an immediate threat of harm to the public.
4-B. Modify order. An order may be modified by the court.
A. Upon 2 days' notice or a shorter period the court may prescribe, 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.
B. The court shall hear and determine the motion as expeditiously as possible.
C. The owner shall submit an affidavit setting forth specific facts to substantiate the modification or dissolution of the order. The applicant has the burden of presenting evidence to substantiate the original findings.
5. Lien. Any person taking possession of a dog as provided in this section has a lien on that dog in accordance with Title 17, section 1021, subsection 6.
6. Treble damages. If a dog whose owner or keeper refuses or neglects to comply with the order wounds any person by a sudden assault or wounds or kills any domestic animal, the owner or keeper shall pay the person injured treble damages and costs to be recovered by a civil action.
7. Class D crime. If the owner refuses or neglects to comply with an order issued under subsection 1 or 4-A, the owner commits a Class D crime.
Title 7 section 3961 Reimbursement for Damage done by Dogs
1. Injuries and damages by animal. When an animal damages a person or that person's property due to negligence of the animal's owner or keeper, the owner or keeper of
that animal is liable in a civil action to the person injured for the amount of damage done if the damage was not occasioned through the fault of the person injured.
2. Injuries by dog. Notwithstanding subsection 1, when a dog injures a person who is not on the owner's or keeper's premises at the time of the injury, the owner or keeper of the dog is liable in a civil action to the person injured for the amount of the damages. Any fault on the part of the person injured may not reduce the damages recovered for physical injury to that person unless the court determines that the fault of the person injured exceeded the fault of the dog's keeper or owner.
Title 7 Section 3962-A Penalty for Damage to Livestock or Pets by Dogs
1. Violation. Except as provided in subsection 3, the owner or keeper of an animal that due to negligence of the animal's owner or keeper kills or injures livestock, poultry, domestic rabbits or pets commits a civil violation for which a forfeiture not to exceed $100 may be adjudged in addition to costs.
2. Additional remedy. A person who suffers damage as a result of a violation of subsection 1 may also pursue a civil action against the owner or keeper of the animal pursuant to section 3961.
3. Exception. If the owner or keeper of an animal that kills or injures another animal establishes that the animal that was killed or injured provoked the killing or injury or that the animal that committed the killing or injury was leashed or controlled on the owner's or keeper's property at the time of the killing or injury, then the owner or keeper is not liable under this section or section 3961.
Title 7 Section 4011 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. Is a licensed veterinarian or a person certified under Title 17, section 1042 and that person kills or attempts to kill an animal by a method that does not conform to standards adopted by a national association of licensed veterinarians
D. Injures, overworks, tortures, torments, abandons or cruelly beats or intentionally 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;
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;
G. Hunts, traps or sells for the purpose of hunting any animal, except as permitted pursuant to chapter 202-A and Title 12, Part 13;
H. Injects, inserts or causes ingestion of any substance used solely to enhance the performance of an animal by altering the animal's metabolism to that animal's detriment, including but not limited to excessive levels of sodium bicarbonate in equines used for competition; or
I. Kills or tortures an animal to frighten or intimidate a person or forces a person to injure or kill an animal.
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 13.
Evidence of proper care of any animal shall not be admissible in the defense of alleged cruelty to other animals.
Title 7 Section 4012 Cruelty to birds
1. Cruelty to birds. A person is guilty of cruelty to birds if that person:
A. Keeps or uses any live pigeon, fowl or other bird for a target or to be shot at, either for amusement or as a test of skill in marksmanship;
B. Shoots at any bird or is present as a party, umpire or judge at a shooting; or
C. Rents any building, shed, room, yard, field or premises or knowingly allows the use of the same for the purposes of paragraphs A and B.
2. Construction. This section may not be construed to prohibit the shooting of wild game in its wild state or the shooting of birds at field trials under the supervision of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in accordance with Title 12, chapter 915, subchapter 13.
3. Affirmative defense. It is an affirmative defense to this section that the conduct involved the use of live animals in the training of other animals in accordance with the laws of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Title 12, Part 13.
Title 7 Section 4041 Animal trespass
1. Definitions. [1999, c. 254, §15 (rp).]
1-A. Trespass. An owner of an animal may not allow that animal to enter onto the property of another after the owner has been warned by a law enforcement officer or animal control officer that that animal was found on the property of another.
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 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 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 after having been personally notified by an animal control officer or law enforcement officer that the animal was trespassing.
B. [1999, c. 254, §15 (rp).]
4. Forfeiture. A forfeiture of not less than $50 nor more than $500 must be adjudged for a civil violation under subsection 3. In addition, 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 owner against the offender based on the same facts.
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. Definition. For purposes of this section, the term "animal" does not include cats
Title 7 Section 3916 Rabies Vaccinations Required for Cats
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.
2. Certificate. A licensed veterinarian who vaccinates or supervises the vaccination of a cat 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.
3. Enforcement. A humane agent, an animal control officer or a law enforcement officer may ask an owner or keeper of a cat 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 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.