Maine Animal Control Association

Animal Welfare Advisory Committee


What is the Animal Welfare Advisory Council?



The Animal Welfare Advisory Council was created to advise the Commissioner of Agriculture on matters that pertain to the Animal Welfare Program per M.R.S.A. Title 7 § 3906-C.


What are the duties of the Animal Welfare Advisory Council?



The council performs the following duties:

  • Reviews and advises the commissioner on proposed revisions to the animal welfare laws and rules

  • Assists the commissioner in the continuing implementation and evaluation of the animal welfare laws and rules

  • Reviews training programs for humane agents and animal control officers and makes recommendations for training appropriate to the duties of the humane agents and animal control officers

  • Researches options for increasing revenue to the Animal Welfare Fund to ensure funding for the implementation and enforcement of the animal welfare laws and rules

  • Advises the commissioner on other matters related to the animal welfare laws and rules.


Does AWAC have any supervisory jurisdiction over departmental Animal Welfare personnel?



AWAC has no supervisory jurisdiction over departmental personnel nor does AWAC have any supervisory jurisdiction over day-to-day operations of AWP. All personnel matters are the responsibility of the Commissioner and his staff and day-to-day operations are the responsibility of the AWP Director.



How are the AWAC members appointed?



The Governor appoints all AWAC members.



How many AWAC members are there and whom do they represent?



There are 12 members representing the following:

  • One member representing municipal interests;

  • One animal control officer;

  • One member representing licensed animal shelters;

  • One member representing licensed boarding or breeding kennels;

  • One member representing licensed pet shops;

  • One member representing the public;

  • One member who is or has been a veterinarian licensed to practice in the state;

  • One attorney with experience in animal welfare law;

  • One cooperative extension agent or specialist;

  • One member with expertise in equine care;

  • One member with expertise in livestock representing a statewide farming organization; and

  • One member representing a State-based animal advocacy group.

Also the Commissioner or the commissioner’s designee serves as an ex officio nonvoting member.



What are the terms of office for AWAC members?



Except for initial appointees and the commissioner or the commissioner’s designee, each member serves for a term of 3 years or until the member’s successor has qualified. Except for the commissioner or the commissioner’s designee, a member may not serve more than 2 consecutive terms.



What happens if there is a vacancy on AWAC?



In case of a vacancy for any reason, the Governor shall appoint a member representing the same interest to fill the unexpired term.



When are the AWAC meetings?



AWAC shall hold regular public meetings every other month but may waive by majority vote a succeeding meeting.



Can there be 'special meetings'?



Yes, the chair shall call special meetings of the council whenever requested in writing by 2 or more members.



How is the Chair selected?



The council shall elect one of its members as chair. The chair serves for a 2-year period and may not serve as chair for consecutive 2-year periods.



Are the members of AWAC compensated?



By statue members of the council are entitled to travel and meal expenses only.



When a person is appointed to AWAC do they become state employees?



AWAC members do not become state employees upon appointment by the Governor.



What happens if a member of AWAC resigns his position or fails to attend meetings?



If a member resigns, the Governor is asked to appoint another person to represent the same interest. If a person fails to attend meetings the Chair may request their resignation.



May members of the public attend AWAC meetings?



All AWAC meetings, unless AWAC is in executive session, are open to the members of the public.



May members of the public get copies of all the materials that are handed out to members of AWAC?



Any materials given to members of AWAC at a scheduled meeting are available to the public.



If AWAC recommends to the Commissioner of Agriculture that a certain law be passed or repealed, is the Commissioner required to accept and follow that recommendation?



While one of the duties of AWAC is to advise and make recommendations (see question #2) to the Commissioner, it is at the Commissioner’s discretion to accept and/or follow those recommendations.



Does AWAC have the authority to hire, terminate, or discipline a local animal control officer?



No. Only the employing municipalities may hire, terminate or discipline an Animal Control Officer.




© Copyright 2007 Maine Animal Control Association