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MA Update: Call Committee Members TODAY and Attend Legislative Hearing on June 4!

(Thursday, May 30, 2013)

Several dog-focused bills are scheduled for a hearing by the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government on Tuesday June 4, 2013. AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) is working closely with the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (MassFed) and other concerned individuals to address those bills that may most negatively impact responsible dog owners and breeders.

Because of the severity of pending legislation, it is important that concerned responsible dog owners and breeders contact the members of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government TODAY and, if possible, attend the committee hearing on June 4. NUMBERS MATTER! Even if you do not speak, committee members will see the number of constituents who took the time to attend and stand up for responsible dog breeders and owners.

Scroll down for more information on the hearing and how to contact the committee members.

Summary:

HB 1874/SB 401– OPPOSE AS CURRENTLY WRITTEN - Described as acts that would “protect puppies and kittens”, these bills would actually require individuals who house more than 3 females (dogs and/or cats) to be licensed as “pet dealers” and be subject to commercial breeder regulations. The bill also provides for consumer protection provisions that, if enacted as introduced, will have far-reaching negative impacts on Massachusetts breeders.

  • It repeals current exemptions from commercial licensing enjoyed by those who transfer the offspring of their personally-owned animals. As a result, the law will treat such breeders similar to the way pet shops are treated for licensing purposes under state law.
  • It expansively redefines “hobby breeders” as any “person engaged in the incidental breeding and subsequent sale, barter, or exchange of the offspring of not more than three personally-owned breeding females” and would include such hobby breeders in the definition of pet dealer.
  • It subjects “pet dealers” (excepting hobby breeders) to new consumer protection provisions that do not afford breeders the opportunity to provide better puppy and buyer protections by private contract, or a second veterinary medical opinion or appeal prior to being required to provide a buyer with state-mandated remedies.
  • It extends rulemaking power to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources over commercial breeder kennels, personal kennels, and to persons otherwise selling, exchanging or otherwise transferring the offspring of their personally- owned dogs and/or cats, and provides that a wide variety of standards of care must be addressed by administrative rule.

The AKC joins MassFed in opposing these bills as currently written. The AKC believes that, as introduced, HB 1874 and SB 401 feature inadequate consumer protection provisions that must be addressed. Additionally, the AKC is deeply concerned with unintended consequences that may flow from these bills. Specifically, if enacted in their current form, these bills would treat hobby breeders similarly to how commercial facilities are handled in the Commonwealth. Such a declaration could negatively impact home-based purebred dog fanciers whose residential property zoning classifications may, as a result of the new treatment, prohibit such activity.

SB 969 – 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, severalBoston-area officials are now leading an effortto repeal the state's breed-neutral policy. SB 969 would allow any community in Massachusetts to enact breed-specific laws. The AKC and MassFed both promote breed-neutral dangerous dog policies, and therefore both strongly oppose SB 969.

Read more about these, and the many other dog-related measures under consideration, by clicking here.

How To Protect Your Rights:

  • Attend the Tuesday, June 4 hearing:

    Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government
    Tuesday, June 4, 2013
    11:00am-12:30 pm. Room 437 AND
    1:00 pm-5:00 pm, Room A2

    **If you would like to attend, please contact the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs (MassFed) at info@massfeddogs.org or (508)966-4564/(508) 612-9553. Let them know that you will be attending the hearings, and, if you would like to testify, which bill you would like to address. MassFed will help you sign up to testify and is also happy to help coordinate carpooling if needed.

  • Contact the members of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government and respectfully express your opinions on these bills:

    Senator Sal N. DiDomenico, Senate Chair
    Rm. 218
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-1650
    Email:Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov

    Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, Senate Vice Chair
    Rm. 312D
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-1673
    Email:Sonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.gov

    Senator William N. Brownsberger
    Rm. 413C
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-1280
    Email:William.Brownsberger@masenate.gov

    Senator James E. Timilty
    Rm. 507
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-1222
    Email:James.Timilty@masenate.gov

    Senator Barry R. Finegold
    Rm. 416B
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-1612
    Email:Barry.Finegold@MASenate.gov

    Senator Richard J. Ross
    Rm. 520
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-1555
    Email:Richard.Ross@masenate.gov

    House Members – Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government

    Representative Sarah K. Peake, House Chair

    Rm. 540
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-2090
    Email:Sarah.Peake@mahouse.gov

    Representative Gailanne M. Cariddi, House Vice Chair
    Rm. 155
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-2450
    Email:Gailanne.Cariddi@mahouse.gov

    Representative Thomas M. Stanley
    Rm. 167
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-2230
    Email:Thomas.Stanley@mahouse.gov

    Representative Sean Garballey
    Rm. 540
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-2090
    Email:Sean.Garballey@mahouse.gov

    Representative Rhonda L. Nyman
    Rm. 473F
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-2210
    Email:Rhonda.Nyman@MAhouse.gov

    Representative Wayne A. Matewsky
    Rm. 540
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-2090
    Email:Wayne.Matewsky@mahouse.gov

    Representative Kevin J.Kuros
    Rm. 443
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-2460
    Email:Kevin.Kuros@mahouse.gov

    Representative Cleon H. Turner
    Rm. 540
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-2090
    Email:Cleon.Turner@mahouse.gov

    Representative Timothy R. Madden
    Rm. 167
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-2810
    Email:Timothy.Madden@mahouse.gov

    Representative David M.Rogers
    Rm. 134
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-2400
    Email:Dave.Rogers@mahouse.gov

    Representative Peter Durant
    Rm. 33
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone: 617-722-2060
    Email:Peter.Durant@mahouse.gov

AKC Government Relations will continue to provide information on these bills. For more information, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org. You may also contact the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs at info@massfeddogs.com.