Massachusetts Alert: 15 Bills to be Heard on Tuesday, July 14th!

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government has...

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government has scheduled consideration of 14 dog-related bills at its meeting on Tuesday, July 14th.  Another bill of importance, HB 344 (see info, below) will be heard concurrently by the Joint Judiciary Committee.  The American Kennel Club (AKC) and its Massachusetts federation, the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (MassFed), encourage all responsible dog breeders and owners in Massachusetts to take action:  attend Tuesday’s committee hearings, and/or contact the committee members and your elected officials in Massachusetts and let them know whether you support or oppose the bills (as highlighted below) they will consider on Tuesday.

Bills of concern to be heard by the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government (Tuesday, July 14; 10AM, Room A-2 of the State House in Boston): 

The AKC and MassFed both support HB 1977, which seeks to strengthen Massachusetts’ dangerous dog laws.  Its provisions include:

  • Allowing dogs previously declared to be “at risk” to have the designation removed if the dog does not exhibit “at risk” behavior within 24 months after being designated as “at risk” 
     
  • Providing for duties of local animal control when a dog is declared “at risk”.
     
  • Providing for duties of local animal control when a dog is declared as “dangerous”. 
     
  • Includes due process protections for dog owners.   

 

The AKC and MassFed both oppose HB 1997, which seeks to impose many controversial new dog laws, including:

  • Requiring that dog owners with intact dogs acquire an intact animal permit along with a health certificate (which will require state-prescribed vaccination protocols) while in compliance with all other licensing laws.  Municipalities are to set the fees for intact animal permits by rule.
     
  • Allowing municipalities to ban or further regulate specific breeds of dogs. 
     
  • Deeming certain commonplace acts as nuisance behaviors, the punishment for which could result in euthanization of the animal.
     
  • Severely limiting the means by which an owner may humanely restrain their dog. 

 

The AKC and MassFed both also oppose SB 774, which seeks to severely restrict the rights and operations of most responsible dog breeders in Massachusetts, including:

  • Requiring anyone with four or more dogs to obtain a kennel license. 
     
  • Limiting the number of intact dogs six months of age or older a person may own to 25. 
     
  • Restricting the breeding of dogs to those between the ages of 18 months and eight years of age. 
     
  • Imposing strict, hard-to-comply-with, and expensive engineering standards for kennels.
     
  • Allowing inspections of kennels, including private residences, without notice and at any time. 
     
  • Mandating strict exercise requirements for dogs kept in a kennel. 

 

Other bills which will be considered by the Joint Municipalities Committee include HB 3704 (animal shelters), SB 763 (dangerous dog registry), SB 778 (spay/neuter fund), HB 1968 (dangerous dogs), HB 1969 (seizure/impoundment), HB 1975 (cat sterilization), HB 2008 (vicious dogs), HB 2015 (vicious dogs), HB 2016 (vicious dogs), HB 3589 (veterinary technicians), and SB 784 (rabies vaccinations).  Click here to read MassFed’s positions.  


WHAT YOU CAN DO:

It is imperative that all concerned responsible dog breeders and owners in Massachusetts contact the members of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government listed below.  Let them know that you support HB 1977, and oppose both HB 1997 and SB 774. 


Senator James B. Eldridge, Chair
Room 213-A
State House
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: (617) 722-1120
Fax: (617) 722-1089
James.Eldridge@state.ma.us


Senator Patricia D. Jehlen, Vice-Chair
Room 513  
State House  
Boston, MA 02133  
Telephone: 617-722-1578  
Fax:617-722-1117  
Patricia.Jehlen@state.ma.us


Senator Susan C. Fargo
State House
Room 504
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: (617) 722-1572
Susan.Fargo@state.ma.us


Senator Anthony D. Galluccio
State House
Room 218
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: (617) 722-1650
Anthony.Galluccio@state.ma.us


Senator Thomas P. Kennedy
State House
Room 109-E
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: (617) 722-1200
Thomas.P.Kennedy@state.ma.us


Senator Richard R. Tisei
State House
Room 308
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: (617) 722-1206
Fax: (617) 722-1063
Richard.Tisei@state.ma.us


Representative Paul J. Donato
State House
Room 540
Boston, MA 02133  
Telephone: 617-722-2090
Fax: 617-722-2848
Rep.PaulDonato@hou.state.ma.us


Representative Joyce A. Spiliotis
State House
Room 236
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2430
Rep.JoyceSpiliotis@hou.state.ma.us


Representative David B. Sullivan
State House
Room 279
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone:617-722-2230
Fax: 617-722-2821
Rep.DavidSullivan@hou.state.ma.us


Representative Sean Curran
State House
Room 473B
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2263
Rep.SeanCurran@Hou.State.MA.US


Representative Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr. 
State House
Room 146
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2011
Fax: 617-722-2238
Rep.AngeloPuppolo@Hou.State.MA.US


Representative Pam Richardson
State House
Room 448
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2582
Fax: 617-722-2879
Rep.PamRichardson@hou.state.ma.us


Representative Katherine Clark
State House
Room 252
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2220
Fax: 617-722-2850
Rep.KatherineClark@HOU.State.MA.US


Representative Brian M. Ashe
State House
Room 540
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2090
Fax: 617-722-2848
Rep.BrianAshe@hou.state.ma.us


Representative Timothy R. Madden
State House
Room 167
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2810
Fax: 617-722-2846
Rep.TimothyMadden@hou.state.ma.us


Representative F. Jay Barrows
State House
Room 542
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2488
Fax: 617-722-2390
Rep.FJayBarrows@hou.state.ma.us


Representative Robert S. Hargraves
State House
Room 237
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2305
Fax: 617-722-2598
Rep.RobertHargraves@hou.state.ma.us

 

At Noon on July 14th, a different committee, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, will consider House Bill 344, which seeks to:

  • Make it illegal to debark a dog in Massachusetts in most circumstances.
     
  • Impose unreasonable penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and/or a fine of not more than $2,500, for those found in violation of the bill. 

 

The AKC believes that much misinformation exists about debarking of dogs. When performed by a veterinarian, debarking is an acceptable medical procedure that is often done as a "last resort" when all other methods of modifying a dog's behavior have failed. For many responsible dog owners, debarking is the only alternative to euthanizing or surrendering their canine companion to a local shelter when their pet's noisy behavior continually disturbs the community. The decision to debark a dog is one that is best left to the dog owner and his veterinarian.

Both the AKC and MassFed oppose House Bill 344. 


WHAT YOU CAN DO:

All concerned responsible dog breeders and owners in Massachusetts are strongly encouraged to attend Tuesday’s hearing in opposition to HB 344 (Gardner Auditorium, State House, Boston); and/or to contact the members of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary and let them know that you oppose HB 344, and encourage them to do the same. 


Senator Cynthia Stone Creem, Chair
State House
Room 416-B
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: (617) 722-1639
Cynthia.Creem@state.ma.us


Senator Steven A. Baddour, Vice-Chair
State House
Room 208
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: (617) 722-1604
Steven.Baddour@state.ma.us


Senator Gale D. Candaras
State House
Room 213B
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-1291
Fax: 617-722-1014
Gale.Candaras@State.MA.US


Senator Jack Hart
State House
Room 109-C
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: (617) 722-1150
John.Hart@state.ma.us


Senator Thomas M. McGee
State House
Room 112
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: (617) 722-1350
Thomas.McGee@state.ma.us


Senator Bruce E. Tarr
State House
Room 313-A
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: (617) 722-1600
Bruce.Tarr@state.ma.us


Representative Eugene L. O’Flaherty
State House
Room 136
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2396
Fax: 617-722-2819
Rep.GeneOFlaherty@hou.state.ma.us


Representative Christopher N. Speranzo
State House
Room 136
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2396
Rep.ChristopherSperanzo@Hou.State.MA.US


Representative James H. Fagan
State House
Room 236
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2430
Fax: 617-722-2346
Rep.JamesFagan@hou.state.ma.us


Representative Colleen M. Garry
State House
Room 238
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2380
Fax: 617-722-2847
Rep.ColleenGarry@hou.state.ma.us


Representative Marie P. St. Fleur
State House
Room 43
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2030
Rep.MarieSt.Fleur@hou.state.ma.us


Representative John V. Fernandes
State House
Room 136
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2396
Fax: 617-722-2215
Rep.JohnFernandes@Hou.State.MA.US


Representative Katherine Clark
State House
Room 252
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2220
Fax: 617-722-2850
Rep.KatherineClark@HOU.State.MA.US


Representative James J. Dwyer
State House  
Room 39  
Boston, MA 02133  
Telephone: 617-722-2014  
Fax: 617-626-0831
Rep.JamesJDwyer@hou.state.ma.us  


Representative Danielle W. Gregoire
State House  
Room 26
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2080
Rep.DanielleGregoire@hou.state.ma.us

Representative Lewis G. Evangelidis
State House  
Room 473B  
Boston, MA 02133  
Telephone: 617-722-2263  
Rep.LewisEvangelidis@hou.state.ma.us


Representative Daniel K. Webster
State House
Room 542
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2487
Rep.DanielWebster@hou.state.ma.us

 

For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail doglaw@akc.org; or contact the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Owners at www.massfeddogs.org