Exotic animals and feral cats legislation submitted

feral catsI hope to keep you informed of legislative bills of particular interest to those who love the outdoors. There’s not much information available yet, so let’s start this series with my own proposals.

Yesterday I submitted 7 proposals to the Revisor’ office, where they will be drafted into bills. Each bill has an outstanding legislation as it’s sponsor, and once the bills are drafted, they will go to the sponsor for review and approval. I will continue to work on these bills, with the sponsors, throughout the session, and also report to you on their progress.

Two bills are sure to draw a lot of comment. And both are sponsored by Senator Scott Cyrway, who, I’ve heard, will be Senator Chair of the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee.

Exotic Animals

The legislature significantly rewrote the laws governing possession of exotic animals last session. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is in the process of creating new lists of exotics that can be possessed with permits, those that can be possessed without permits, and those that are banned.

This legislation will require a permit to possess all exotic animals in Maine, and to require the owners of exotics to notify the Maine Warden Service if their exotic animal gets loose along with any neighbors within that animal’s range of travel.

It seems incredible to me that you can be fined if you dog runs loose, but not your python.

This bill would also authorize DIF&W to require an ID chip in some exotic animals.

Feral Cats

This bill would make it clear that it is illegal to release feral cats into the woods. These cats are currently being captured, neutered and cleaned up, and then released back into the wild. There is a law against abandoning your domestic animals into the wild, but it apparently does not prohibit the release of feral cats. Another law says “abandonment of an animal that results in the animal’s death is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.” Yet I am told this law does not apply to the release of feral cats.


George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.