Last year, legislationin my own town, York Maine, took me by surprise. Due to the passage of this legislation, dogs are no longer allowed off leash and under voice control in areas where they previously could be. Unfortunately, I only found out about it when I got my absentee ballot to vote. I felt it was way too late to try and organize a move against, and I explain my other thoughts in the linked blog that starts off this paragraph.
Before and since, I try to look for and be aware of what is posted out there about legislation coming up especially in regards to pets (my primary interest being the effects on dog ownership of course). In browsing a Facebook page for an animal rescue called Almost Home Rescue of Maine. They were discussing somelegislation in progress for the state of Maine, which is likely to make landlords very leery about renting to pet owners. It may also make landlords review and change their policies for current pet owners living in their apartments. Yikes, don’t we already have an economy problem and homeless animal problem in full force without this additional monkey wrench?
I would like to urge pet owners, rescues, and professionals in the pet industry, veterinarians, and any people who are interested in pets to share information like this in any venues that they can think of. If you run across an article or piece of information, please do not assume (as I have been guilty of) that they “right” people know about it. Here are some sources you can share the information with or look up what is going on in Maine (in addition to writing to your legislative contacts and signing petitions):
http://www.understand-a-bull.com/(breed specific legislative concerns)
http://nhdogs.org/ (dog owners in New Hampshire)
Also if you have a blog, be sure to blog about it, then it can be found when others search on these issues. If you have a rescue, do not assume that your audience is not interested, and share what you know about legislation that is happening.
If we can all share this information, it can be acted on that much sooner. Once these things become law, it’s very hard to reverse or amend them. I went over some unfriendly dog legislationthat exists in this blog post.
Other ways that you can get a heads up on local legislation are:
- Search the Web for news stories on local pet legislation.
- Follow your local town councilmen/women <G> meetings. Many times they are broadcasted on local television or may be available on the Internet.
- Check local rescue pages for news and discussions.
- If you know the bill number, you can check the Maine Legislative sitefor the wording of the bill (and the status).
Many pet legislative bills start out with good intentions, but the language ends up restricting responsible parties. This is why it is so important to share and keep an eye out for pet legislation.