Rules on out-of-state pets to get hearing

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AUGUSTA – After an influx of diseased pets crossing state lines and being adopted in Maine, the state’s Animal Welfare Program is looking at stricter rules for dogs and cats coming into Maine.

Program officials will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. Monday at the Department of Public Safety Building at 45 Commerce St. in Augusta.

Nothing has been put into place yet, said Shelley Doak, director of the Division of Animal Health and Industry within the Department of Agriculture.

The rule that has been drafted would expand existing laws for animal sales to animal adoptions. This includes provisions that those transporting dogs and cats must have a permit for state entry

The proposed rule also adds canine ehrichiosis, heartworm and Lyme disease to the list of diseases for which an animal must be tested, as well as being immunized against several diseases. The rule also mandates a five-day holding period for imported dogs and cats, as well as a certificate of veterinary inspection.

Violations of the law would constitute civil offenses.

The purpose of Monday’s hearing is to listen to what the public has to say and answer questions, Doak said.

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