Massachusetts Senate Bill 885 and House Bill 1437, which protect dog owners in Massachusetts from housing and insurance breed discrimination, are scheduled for a virtual public hearing on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 before the Joint Committee on Housing at 11am.
The COVID-19 pandemic threatened to alter housing arrangements for Massachusetts residents unable to pay their mortgage or rent. In response, Senator Anne Gobi and Representative David Rogers filed this companion legislation to ensure that residents would not encounter limitations on housing options based upon the breed, size, weight or appearance of dog owned. These bills would accomplish the following:
- Block home-owners associations from prohibiting the keeping of certain types of dogs based on breed, size, weight or appearance;
- Block state-aided public housing from prohibiting the keeping of certain types of dogs based on breed, size, weight or appearance; and
- Prohibit companies offering homeowners or renters insurance coverage from refusing to issue, renew, cancel, or charge or impose an increased premium or rate, upon the keeping of a specific breed of dog upon the property.
- Prevent hotels from objecting to the accommodation of dogs with owners during a declared state of emergency;
The AKC supports this legislation, which will protect many responsible dog owners in Massachusetts from housing and insurance discrimination based solely on the dog’s breed, size, weight or appearance.
In the same way, the AKC believes that insurance companies should determine coverage of a dog-owning household based on the dog’s deeds, not the dog’s breed. Under breed specific rules, the list of regulated breeds or types could grow every year without ever addressing irresponsible owners. If a dog is a well-behaved member of the household and the community, there is no reason to deny housing or cancel coverage. In fact, dogs are a natural alarm system whose bark may deter intruders and prevent theft.
For more information and talking points regarding AKC’s position on why breed-neutral laws are more effective, visit www.akcgr.org/bsl
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Online testimony in support of SB 885 and HB 1437 is encouraged. The committee will accept comment until Friday, October 15 at 5:00 PM. First, you need to create an account for “MyLegislature” and follow these instructions.
For more information on this or other legislative issues in Massachusetts, contact AKC GR at 919-816-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners at email@example.com.