In this July 27, 2018, photo, Arrow sits in Salem, New Hampshire. The cat's death inspired New Hampshire legislation to put cats on equal footing with dogs when they are run over. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed the bill into law in 2021. Credit: Courtesy of Daryl Abbas via AP

The BDN Opinion section operates independently and does not set newsroom policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on

Marge Kilkelly raises cashmere and meat goats at Dragonfly Cove Farm in Dresden, where her dog Percy works as the livestock guardian and visitor greeter. Kilkelly previously served in the Maine Legislature and as a senior policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Angus King.

In Maine, if you run into a deer, moose or even a turkey with your vehicle, you are required to notify authorities about that collision. A benefit of this law is that if the animal is severely injured and must be killed, that can occur in a timely, humane manner and the animal is not left to wander into the woods and slowly die.

It makes perfect sense to require notification, and frankly I believe 95 percent of all drivers want to do the right thing by an animal that they have injured.  

The same respect for animals hit by vehicles does not extend to dogs, cats or livestock. We found this out when our dog Percy was hit in August 2020. As he was being led home by a neighbor, a car turned onto Route 128 in Dresden, speeding, swerved and hit the dog, almost hitting the neighbor. The car then sped off.

We were working on fences on our farm, heard the brakes squeal, the vehicle hitting the dog and the dog scream, so we all ran to the road. About that time a bicyclist came along and said that the same vehicle almost hit him on the side road.

Percy suffered a broken leg and dislocated hip. He underwent two surgeries and multiple X-rays, exams and a long several months of recovery.

The collision was reported to the sheriff, folks were interviewed, but the driver was never located.

It was then that we discovered that an animal hit and run is not a crime in Maine. If you hit a dog, cat or livestock, unless the “necessary market value of repairs is over $1,000,” there is no requirement to notify anyone.

I am going to go back to where I started. First of all, I believe 95 percent of Maine drivers are decent human beings who would stop and try to help any animal they hit, and second, the primary reason for notification is the welfare of the animal. Had we not been working nearby and heard the collision, Percy might have wandered into the woods and died a slow painful death. Since both legs on his right side were injured it would not have been surprising that he might not have been able to make it home even if he wanted to.

Reps. Allison Hepler, Holly Stover and others have submitted LD 598, An Act to Require a Vehicle Operator to Notify an Owner or Law Enforcement Officer of an Accident Involving a Dog, a Cat or Livestock.

The bill is being considered by the Transportation Committee. Sen. Ben Chipman and Rep. Lynne Williams are the committee co-chairs. While it may seem that this legislation is logical and ought to be passed, it is important to know that two years ago a similar bill, LD 236, An Act to Amend the Definition of “Reportable Accident,” did not pass the Legislature. It is going to take lots of emails, testimony, and contacts with legislators to make it happen this year.

Ask your legislator to support LD 598 and provide our animals with the same respect in a vehicle accident that is afforded to deer and moose. To submit testimony go to If you have had the experience of losing or having an animal injured in a hit and run, tell your story.