Maine Cracks Down on Big Cat Abuse

DEW Haven Julie Minor Cub Petting

Maine’s new rules were passed on Aug 17, 2016 and they will be in effect approximately 5-10 days from then. As it stands all members of the family Felidae are considered category 1 restricted species. With these new rules it states:

“Permit required – An applicant for a permit pertaining to category 1 restricted species must be an exhibitor, wildlife rehabilitator, laboratory registered withing the United States Department of Agriculture, or accredited research facility. ”

This was in the notes regarding the form letters from BCR supporters: “The same letters also wanted to ban possession of big cats; IFW action taken: IFW will wait for the technical committee review of the species lists so there will not be any change regarding big cats completely at this time.” Now it says in the rules that the commissioner can still allow a general permission permit for restricted species. (IFW is Inland Fisheries and Wildlife department)

This is in the new rules, “Contact by the public prohibited: An applicant for a permit pertaining to category 1 restricted species must not allow Category 1 restricted species to be accessible for handling or contact by the general public, unless specifically authorized by the commissioner.”

Before these rules DEW appears to have bred lions constantly, but there was only a yearly inventory of the animals for they have, which meant that litters could be born and sold without Maine even knowing. This is in the new rules. “Addition of New Species or Individuals Prohibited: The addition of any new species, or increase in the numbers of previously permitted species, except by birth, must be approved by the commissioner before they may be possessed or added to a valid permit under this Chapter. Any increase in the numbers of a previously permitted species that occurs through reproduction must be reported to the department within 30 days of birth.

The grandfather clause states all permit holders have until January 1, 2018 to comply. There is a requirement of “minimum caging requirements for individual restricted species…” in these new rules.  This is the last sentence in the grandfather clause. “Any offspring that are born to Prohibited or Restricted species that are in the possession of a permit holder through this grandfather clause must be euthanized or transferred to another facility approved by the department.”

We can’t fathom that they would actually kill any animals born. There would be an uproar if that happened. My guess is that DEW, and other backyard breeders in Maine, will not breed any exotic cats until they are within the new rules.  They will still be able to breed and do their thing but it is going to be a lot tougher now and records are kept which can be requested by the public (we hope). Julie Miner, owner of DEW, is stating she is worried about revenue and not being able to breed.

We know this isn’t perfect but it is a big step up.

Here is a link to the meeting minutes. Julie’s comments are towards the end.

http://www.maine.gov/ifw/aboutus/commissioners_office/advisorycouncil/minutes/2016june.htm

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