Animal Welfare Advisory Council (AWAC)

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Animal Welfare Advisory Council Mission

Per Title 7 3906-C members review and advise the commissioner on proposed revisions to the animal welfare laws; assist the commissioner in the continuing implementation and evaluation of the animal welfare laws and rules; review training programs for humane agents and animal control officers; research options for increasing revenue to the Animal Welfare Fund; and advise the commissioner on the other matters related to the animal welfare laws and rules.

Public Meetings

Remote Meeting Policy

  • The Animal Welfare Program will provide public access to a room with a computer that will stream the meeting so that members of the public can attend if needed.
  • The chat feature on all meetings will be turned off.
  • To participate in public comment, each person must have their video on and provide a name and town of residence.
  • For entry into the meeting, virtual or in person, members of the public will need to display their first and last name and town of residence.
  • Public comment will be limited to 2 minutes per person but can be extended at the chairperson's discretion.
  • Any harassment of AWAC members or AWP employees will result in that person being muted. If that person unmutes themself, they will be removed from the meeting.

Adopted 9/13/2023

Meeting Schedule

Date and Time Location Additional Information
September 18, 2024 1:30 PM Microsoft Teams - Online Meeting Join on Microsoft Teams

October 16, 2024 1:30 PM Microsoft Teams - Online Meeting Join on Microsoft Teams

November 20, 2024 1:30 PM Microsoft Teams - Online Meeting Join on Microsoft Teams

December 18, 2024 1:30 PM Microsoft Teams - Online Meeting Join on Microsoft Teams

Meeting Archive




Advisory Council Members

Seat Number Name Additional Info
1 Kim Mclaughlin Must Represent Municipal Interests
2 Ruthann Weist Must be an Animal Control Officer
3 Katie Lisnik Must Represent Licensed Animal Shelters
4 Frank Billings Must Represent Licensed Boarding Kennels
5 Vacant Must Represent Licensed Pet Shops
6 Kathleen Benard Must own a Pet and Represent the Interests of the Public in Animal Welfare
7 Bonnie Martinolich Must be an Attorney with Experience in Animal Welfare Law
8 Jessica Matulis Must be a Veterinarian who is or has been Licensed to Practice in the State and may be selected from nominations made by the Maine Veterinary Medical Association.
9 Dana C. Hill Must be a Cooperative Extension Agent or Specialist
10 Casey Cole Must have Experience in Equine Care
11 Julie Ann Smith Must have Experience in Livestock Who Represents a Statewide Farming Organization
12 Dennis Morelli Must Represent a State-based Animal Advocacy Group
13 Vacant Holds a Kennel Licensed Issued Under Section 3923-C
14 Sharon St. John Must Represent Licensed Breeding Kennels

AWAC Pledge

We, the Individuals and organizations that make up the Animal Welfare Advisory Council, reject and condemn verbal abuse, threats, and acts of violence directed against animal welfare personnel. There is no place in the humane movement for physical or verbal intimidation, violence, or acts of terrorism. Such behavior is wholly inconsistent with a core ethic of promoting compassion and respect, and undermines the credibility of the entire animal welfare movement.

Our goal must be to affirm the value and integrity of all life, whether animal or human, and to encourage others to do likewise. Verbal attacks, threats, harassment, defamation, and acts of violence, moreover, do not ultimately help animals. Instead, they eliminate opportunities for dialogue, collaboration and cooperation, making our shared goals, including that of ending the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals, harder to achieve.

A free and respectful exchange of views in the ongoing local, regional and national conversations about animal welfare practices, is the standard to which animal organizations and communities should aspire and adhere. We call on every animal organization and advocate in Maine to join us in actively promoting compassion and respect not just for animals but for those people who work tirelessly on their behalf.