New Law Prohibits Future Ownership of Wolf Hybrids in Maine
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Department of Agriculture are reminding owners that there are new laws in place regarding the possession of wolf hybrids.
According to a new law enacted in June, future ownership of wolf hybrids is prohibited unless a person holds a valid permit to possess wildlife in captivity issued by MDIFW. These animals would need to be maintained under wildlife in captivity standards currently held by MDIFW. The law further requires wolf hybrid owners to license their animals in the town where they reside, as well as requiring that those animals be vaccinated for rabies and permanently identified. An added provision to the law calls for all currently licensed wolf hybrids to be neutered.
The legislation was developed after legislators had heard testimony that the keeping of wolf hybrids posed concerns for public safety and that the current regulation of wolf hybrid kennels did not provide adequate safeguards.
Maine law defines a wolf hybrid as “a mammal that is the offspring of the reproduction between a species of wild canid or wild canid hybrid and a domestic dog or wild canid hybrid. "Wolf hybrid" includes a mammal that is represented by its owner to be a wolf hybrid, coyote hybrid, coydog or any other kind of wild canid hybrid.
The Department of Agriculture has been charged with maintaining a list of persons who currently own licensed wolf hybrids and with updating this list on an annual basis to account for animals which have died or been transferred to another person. The new law requires the owner of a wolf hybrid to report the death of that animal to the Department within 30 days. Furthermore, it requires an owner to report the transfer of a wolf hybrid to the Department within 10 days.
The Department of Agriculture will be communicating these changes to town clerks since the towns will play an integral role in reporting licensed wolf hybrids to the Department. For further information please contact Don Hoenig, VMD, State Veterinarian, Maine Department of Agriculture at (207) 287-7615 or via E-Mail at Donald.E.Hoenig@maine.gov.