2005 Maine Code - §3952 — Keeping a dangerous dog

    A person who owns or keeps a dangerous dog commits a civil violation for which the court shall adjudge a fine of not less than $250 and not more than $1,000, plus costs, none of which may be suspended. [2003, c. 71, §1 (amd).]

      1. Procedure. Any person who is assaulted or threatened with imminent bodily injury by a dog or any person witnessing an assault or threatened assault against a person or domesticated animal or a person with knowledge of an assault or threatened assault against a minor, within 30 days of the assault or threatened assault, may make written complaint to the sheriff, local law enforcement officer or animal control officer that the dog is a dangerous dog.

Upon investigation of the complaint, the sheriff, local law enforcement officer or animal control officer may issue a civil violation summons for keeping a dangerous dog.

If, upon hearing, the court finds that the dog is a dangerous dog as defined in section 3907, subsection 12-D, the court may impose a civil forfeiture and shall:

A. Order the dog muzzled, restrained, confined to the premises of its owner or keeper or confined in a secure enclosure. The court may set standards for that enclosure; or [1999, c. 350, §2 (amd).]    
B. Order the dog to be euthanatized if it has killed, maimed or inflicted serious bodily injury upon a person or has a history of a prior assault. [1997, c. 690, §35 (amd).]

The court may order restitution in accordance with Title 17-A, chapter 54 for any damages inflicted upon a person or a person's property.
[2001, c. 399, §5 (amd).]
      2. Failure to abide by court order. If the court order in subsection 1, paragraph B, is not complied with within the time set by the court, the court may, upon application by the complainant or other person, issue a warrant to the county sheriff or any of the sheriff's deputies or to a police officer or constable in the municipality where the dog is found, commanding the officer to kill the dog immediately and make a return of the warrant to the court within 14 days from the date of the warrant.

The owner or keeper must be ordered to pay all costs of supplementary proceedings and all reasonable costs for seizure and euthanasia of the dog.
[1999, c. 350, §2 (amd).]
      3. Dogs presenting immediate threat to public. After issuing a summons and before hearing, if the dog poses an immediate or continuing threat to the public, a sheriff, local law enforcement officer or animal control officer shall order the owner or keeper of the dog to muzzle, restrain or confine the dog to the owner's premises or to have the dog confined at the owner's expense at a place determined by the sheriff, local law enforcement officer or animal control officer. If the owner or keeper fails to comply, the sheriff, local law enforcement officer or animal control officer may apply to District Court, Superior Court or a justice of the peace for an ex parte order for authorization to take possession of the dog that poses an immediate or continuing threat to the public and turn the dog over to the applicant or other suitable person.[1999, c. 350, §2 (amd).]
      4. Court action; ex parte.[1999, c. 350, §2 (rp).]
      4-A. Ex parte. An order may be entered ex parte upon findings by the court or justice of the peace when:
A. The dog has inflicted a serious bodily injury as defined in Title 17-A, section 2, subsection 23; or [1999, c. 350, §2 (new).]    
B. There is a reasonable likelihood that the dog is dangerous or vicious and:   
(1) Its owner has failed to muzzle, restrain or confine the dog; and  
(2) That failure poses an immediate threat of harm to the public. [1999, c. 350, §2 (new).] [1999, c. 350, §2 (new).]
      4-B. Modify order. An order may be modified by the court.
A. Upon 2 days' notice or a shorter period the court may prescribe, the owner whose animal has been possessed pursuant to an ex parte order may appear in the District Court or Superior Court and move the dissolution or modification of the ex parte order. [1999, c. 350, §2 (new).]    
B. The court shall hear and determine the motion as expeditiously as possible. [1999, c. 350, §2 (new).]    
C. The owner shall submit an affidavit setting forth specific facts to substantiate the modification or dissolution of the order. The applicant has the burden of presenting evidence to substantiate the original findings. [1999, c. 350, §2 (new).] [1999, c. 350, §2 (new).]
      5. Lien. Any person taking possession of a dog as provided in this section has a lien on that dog in accordance with Title 17, section 1021, subsection 6.[1999, c. 350, §2 (amd).]
      6. Treble damages. If a dog whose owner or keeper refuses or neglects to comply with the order wounds any person by a sudden assault or wounds or kills any domestic animal, the owner or keeper shall pay the person injured treble damages and costs to be recovered by a civil action.[1999, c. 350, §2 (amd).]
      7. Class D crime. If the owner refuses or neglects to comply with an order issued under subsection 1 or 4-A, the owner commits a Class D crime.[1999, c. 350, §2 (new).]

Section History:

PL 1987,  Ch. 383,   §3 (NEW).
PL 1987,  Ch. 736,   §6 (AMD).
PL 1989,  Ch. 212,   § (AMD).
PL 1997,  Ch. 690,   §35,36 (AMD).
PL 1999,  Ch. 350,   §2 (AMD).
PL 2001,  Ch. 399,   §5 (AMD).
PL 2003,  Ch. 71,   §1 (AMD).

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Maine may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.