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Proposal Seeks to Permit Breed-Specific Massachusetts Laws

(Wednesday, January 23, 2013)

The Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (MassFed) has learned that State Senator Michael Rush has filed Senate Docket 1247 in the Massachusetts Senate. The proposal would allow cities and towns to enact breed-specific legislation. The American Kennel Club (AKC) joins with the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners in vehement opposition to this proposal.


A law enacted in 2012 created a new statewide definition of "dangerous dogs" that prevented a dog from being declared dangerous only because of the dog's breed. In response, several Boston-area officials are now leading an effort to repeal the state's breed-neutral policy. This would allow any community in Massachusetts to enact breed-specific laws.

Click here to read the text of the proposal.

The American Kennel Club strongly opposes any legislation that determines a dog to be "dangerous" based on specific breeds or phenotypic classes of dogs. We support laws that: establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as "dangerous" based on stated, measureable actions; impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous. On principle, an extensive number of groups join the AKC and MassFed in opposition to breed-specific legislation, including the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Bar Association.

What You Can Do

Concerned Massachusetts residents are strongly encouraged to contact their state legislators and to respectfully express their opposition to breed-specific legislation.

Massachusetts residents, click here to find your state legislators.

Click here for a sample letter to customize when opposing breed-specific laws.

Click here to view AKC's Issue Analysis: Why Breed-Specific Legislation Doesn't Work.

The AKC's Government Relations Department (AKC-GR) will provide additional information as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC Government Relations at (919) 816-3720, or email doglaw@akc.org; or contact the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners at info@massfeddogs.org.


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