Injured Puppy Removed from Home

puppyOver the course of the past week and a half or so, there has been an outpouring of concern for the puppy we brought to your attention on February 29th, which had its ears cropped, allegedly without any anesthetic or proper veterinary care. As often times seems to be the case with social media, misinformation creeps into the conversation and continues to evolve without respect for the facts.

There are very different laws pertaining to animal control officers and their authority to act from those pertaining to law enforcement officers. In particular, an animal control officer (ACO) does not have the authority to seize an abused animal without an ex-parte order from a court, while a law enforcement officer does. While it seems counter-intuitive to give police officers, who likely have much less animal abuse related training than an ACO, more authority than an ACO- that is in fact the law in Maine. However, there is nothing preventing an ACO from bringing law enforcement into the investigation and thereby making available a different set of laws permitting law enforcement to seize the dog if probable cause exists to do so. This is where our department stumbled. For reasons that have been identified and rectified, we did not get an officer to the scene in a timely way which prevented us from taking immediate custody of the puppy.

However, today the court ordered that the puppy be removed from the home and we have in fact safely secured the puppy. Aside from the obvious injuries to the puppy’s ears, it appeared to be in good health. My understanding is the Central Aroostook Humane Society has a well-qualified foster home for the puppy.