Letter to Editor: Maine Should Guarantee Liability for Animal Abuse and Neglect

I was appalled to read on July 29 (“After Farm Seizures, Women Are Prohibited from Having Animals”, page B1) about the seizure of 20 horses and many other animals on a property. from Springvale.

Jim Britt, spokesperson for the animal welfare program, is paraphrased saying the state “is happy with the outcome” that a court ordered the negligent owner not to own any animals except a few cats and dogs. I find that scandalous.

What good is Maine having animal welfare laws if they are not enforced? Shelters in Maine, including the Society for the Protection of Animals Horse Rescue in Windham, which took 20 horses in appalling condition, will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to rehabilitate and help these animals. Many are severely underweight and have a variety of untreated medical conditions.

Supporters, like me, of these shelters will be invited to donate to help. At the very least, a criminal prosecution should have gone ahead and fines should be imposed. When people herd animals, neglect them and keep them in inhumane conditions, there should be legal and financial consequences. Otherwise, the message is that anyone can get away with this level of neglect.

The enforcement of such a lifetime ownership ban is also problematic. What’s stopping a hoarder from moving somewhere else in Maine, New Hampshire, or wherever, and doing the same?

I am disappointed with another blatant system failure in Maine. Maine taxpayers and supporters of animal rescue organizations around the world should be anything but happy with this result.

Alice People

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