If I Run Over A Cat In Maine, Do I Have To Report It?
Nobody expects to run over a dog or a cat while making a run to the grocery store. But it happens. It certainly doesn't make for a happy day. But what do you do next?
When a motor vehicle accident happens that involves an animal here in Maine, what are you legally required to do, and does it pertain to all animals?
Like in most states, here in Maine domesticated animals like dogs, horses, pigs and cows are considered "property", and when they are involved in an accident on the road it's considered a "property damage accident." Following a property damage accident an attempt must be made to locate the owner and the accident must be reported to the police. Failure to do so would result in charges like leaving the scene of a property damage accident and failure to report an accident by the quickest means.
Believe it or not, cats are technically considered a "wild animal", and here in Maine if you happen to run one over you are not legally bound to report the instance to the police. Even though by law you are not required to do so, the right thing to do would be to locate and then inform the owner. That's what good people do.
Recently, lawmakers in the New Hampshire Senate voted 20 to 4 to pass "Arrow's Law", that would require those that run over a cat to contact the owner of the pet and the police. By the way, Arrow was the name of the cat once owned by the sponsor of the law, who lost his cat when it was hit and left to die in the road.
New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and soon New Hampshire, now all have a specific law on the books that makes it a requirement to inform the owner and the police when one strikes a cat on the road with a motor vehicle. Could Maine be next?