A statewide animal welfare program in Maine called the Animal Welfare Advisory Council met today to begin discussions on reworking the “dangerous dog” laws in the state. The board will meet regularly for an entire year to review the wording of the laws, in an effort to shift the burden of punishment away from the dog and onto the dog owner.
Along with holding the owners more accountable for their dog’s behavior, the board will also discuss having a statewide database pertaining to dog attacks, complaints and bites. There have also been a lot of other early suggestions overheard pertaining to mandatory signage on properties with dogs and requiring additional insurance to be carried by dog owners should problems arise.
“Over the past two to three years, there have been some extraordinary bite cases in places throughout the state where the law just does not meet the situation,” said Liam Hughes. Hughes is the director of the Animal Welfare Program. “The most difficult case I’ve worked on recently is the case in Corinna, where the child died.”
According to Hughes, he plans on contacting other states and other state animal control officers for input on the laws as well. He’ll be looking for examples of what works well and what seems to cause more problems. They won’t simply be compiling a list of what others have done and just go with that, but the additional information is beneficial in ensuring that the best decisions are made.
“We don’t have to copy directly off of somebody else’s work, but we can use that to inspire us,” he said.