AUGUSTA — Maine Gov. John Baldacci has signed a bill to bolster the state’s law against animal cruelty.

The bill signed Wednesday provides an expedited schedule for hearings when animals have been seized without a court order.

The bill was amended to remove a provision that would have made it a more serious crime in cases where 25 or more abused or neglected animals are involved. It also removed use of the term “puppy mills,” which dog breeders find offensive.

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