May 23, 2019

Ethical dog breeding

On behalf of more than 1,000 dog breeders, trainers and owners who are members of the Federation of Maine Dog Clubs, I write to correct several mistakes in the April 15 article on recent legislation about ethical dog breeding.

Contrary to the BDN report, the original legislation did not receive an overhaul. It was a concept bill; there was no draft. The sponsor wanted to address the problem of irresponsible high-volume breeding in Maine. Ultimately, the Legislature established a task force to examine all laws regarding dog breeding, not just the definition of breeding kennels.

The Federation of Maine Dog Clubs testified in support of the bill. We did so because as responsible breeders and owners, we breed dogs for the betterment of the breed. We follow a code of ethics that has evolved over hundreds of years. We know that animal cruelty has an immeasurable societal and moral cost and, moreover, that irresponsible high-volume breeding needs to be addressed.

The real issue is how to do that. The major barrier in prosecuting irresponsible breeders is getting accurate information about animal abuse and improving investigative procedures. Unfortunately, over the past five years state government response has been to expand its licensing net.

More stringent licensing does not solve the problem. The bad actors simply ignore additional licensing requirements.

Our objective ought to be to establish a better reporting system that identifies irresponsible breeders and brings them to justice. In this respect, we believe the new mandatory reporting requirement enacted in companion legislation will be a landmark development.

We look forward to participating with all of the stakeholders on the task force and anticipate that the recommendations will yield tangible results. After all, the broader goal of promoting ethical dog breeding is one that we all share.

Newell Augur

Federation of Maine Dog Clubs


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