AKC News

Press Center
More Headlines

Featured Items

Massachusetts Committee to Consider Two Dog Bills on Tuesday, October 22

(Monday, October 21, 2013)

The Massachusetts General Court’s Joint Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider two bills potentially impacting dog owners tomorrow, Tuesday, October 22, 2013. In addition to attending tomorrow’s meeting, the American Kennel Club (AKC) encourages all concerned Massachusetts residents to contact the committee members and express any comments they may have.

Approximately 60 bills are scheduled to be considered by the Joint Judiciary Committee. Of particular interest to dog owners are the following:

  • House Bill 1363 seeks to exempt dog training areas from civil or criminal action relating to noise pollution. Specifically, owners of training property that were in compliance with applicable noise control laws or ordinances at the time the land was developed would be exempt from complaints by their neighbors based on noise restrictions made effective after the purchase of the training area.

    The American Kennel Club encourages and strongly supports the interaction and mutual enjoyment of owners and dogs in sporting activities such as hunting and field trials; in working circumstances such as herding, tracking, and pulling; and in competition events such as dog shows, obedience trials, and other performance events and tasks. The AKC believes that dogs should be properly cared for, humanely trained, and not pushed beyond reasonable limits for which they were bred.

    The AKC believes that H1363 is a pragmatic legislative step toward ensuring that training areas may be maintained for the original purpose owners intended without subsequent restrictions, and helps ensure that dogs may continue to be used for the instinctive purposes for which they were bred. The AKC joins the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Clubs (MassFed) in supporting H1363.
  • Senate Bill 767 seeks to allow anyone to bring a legal action for the protection and humane treatment of animals, including those who do not have any legal interest or possessory rights in such animal.

    The AKC believes that the provisions of S767, as introduced, are troublesome. In Massachusetts, both substantive and procedural laws are already in place, allowing individuals properly trained and empowered to enforce Massachusetts law to do so. S767, however, would take the enforcement of such laws out of the hands of proper law enforcement, and instead place the power to sue animal owners in the hands of citizens not in any way related to the ownership or care of the animal or to law enforcement. Ultimately, the broad language of S767 could allow radical animal rights activists to bring suit against anyone they believe is committing animal cruelty regardless of whether such accusation is founded. As a result, owners sued may be forced to bear extensive costs in defending themselves against unfounded accusations. Additionally, targeted owners could be subject to seizure of their animals, as currently permitted under Massachusetts law. The AKC joins MassFed and other allied organizations in opposing S767.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Massachusetts residents are encouraged to attend the meeting of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, and to comment on the pending legislation. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 22, 2013, beginning at 1PM in Room B-2 of the Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02133.

Massachusetts residents unable to attend tomorrow’s meeting but still wanting to comment on H1363 and/or S767 are strongly encouraged to contact the members of Joint Committee on the Judiciary listed below.

Suggested comment concerning H1363—I support House Bill 1363 as a pragmatic legislative step toward ensuring that training areas may be maintained for the original purpose owners intended without subsequent restrictions, and ensuring that dogs may continue to be used for the instinctive purposes for which they were bred. I urge you to support H1363.

Suggested comment concerning S767—I oppose Senate Bill 767 because of its troublesome provisions and far-reaching negative impacts. In Massachusetts, both substantive and procedural laws are in place, allowing those properly trained and empowered to enforce Massachusetts law to do so. S767, however, would take the enforcement of such laws out of the hands of proper law enforcement, and instead place the power to sue animal owners in the hands of citizens not in any way related to the ownership or care of the animal or to law enforcement. Ultimately, the broad language of S767 could allow radical animal rights activists to bring suit against anyone they believe is committing animal cruelty regardless of whether such accusation is founded. As a result, owners sued may be forced to bear extensive costs in defending themselves against unfounded accusations. I urge you to oppose S767 as currently written.

Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary

Senate Members:

Senator Katherine M. Clark, Senate Chair
Room 410
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-1206
Fax: 617-722-1063
Email: Katherine.Clark@masenate.gov

Senator Dale D. Candaras, Senate Vice Chair
Phone: 617-722-1291
Fax: 617-722-1014
Email: Gale.Candaras@masenate.gov

Senator William N. Brownsberger
Phone: 617-722-1280
Email: William.Brownsberger@masenate.gov

Senator John F. Keenan
Phone: 617-722-1494
Fax: 617-722-1055
Email: John.Keenan@masenate.gov

Senator Patricia D. Jehlen
Phone: 617-722-1578
Fax: 617-722-1117
Email: Patricia.Jehlen@masenate.gov

Senator Richard J. Ross
Phone: 617-722-1555
Fax: 617-722-1054
Email: Richard.Ross@masenate.gov

House Members:

Representative Eugene L. O’Flaherty, House Chair
Room 136
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2396
Fax: 617-722-2819
Email: Gene.O'Flaherty@mahouse.gov

Representative Christopher M. Markey, House Vice Chair
Phone: 617-722-2396
Fax: 617-626-0250
Email:Christopher.Markey@mahouse.gov

Representative Colleen M. Garry
Phone: 617-722-2380
Fax: 617-722-2847
Email: Colleen.Garry@mahouse.gov

Representative Bruce J. Ayers
Phone: 617-722-2230
Email: Bruce.Ayers@mahouse.gov

Representative Carlos Henriquez
Phone: 617-722-2396
Email: Carlos.Henriquez@mahouse.gov

Representative Jeffry N. Roy
Phone: 617-722-2400
Fax: 617-626-0279
Email: Jeffrey.Roy@mahouse.gov

Representative Kevin J. Murphy
Phone: 617-722-2877
Fax: 617-626-0514
Email: Kevin.Murphy@mahouse.gov

Representative Sean Curran
Phone: 617-722-2263
Fax: 617-626-0678
Email: Sean.Curran@mahouse.gov

Representative Claire D. Cronin
Phone: 617-722-2130
Fax: 617-626-0285
Email: Claire.Cronin@mahouse.gov

Representative Sheila C. Harrington
Phone: 617-722-2305
Fax: 617-626-0199
Email: Sheila.Harrington@mahouse.gov

For more information, contact the MassFed at info@massfeddogs.org; or AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or email doglaw@akc.org.