Yesterday, Massachusetts Senate Bill 2370, the “Act Relative to Protecting Puppies and Kittens” (previously Senate Bill 1103), was passed by the Massachusetts Senate. The bill will now be sent to the Massachusetts House for its consideration.
AKC has several concerns with the bill including:
- New amendments– including expanded restrictions on dog breeders—to a measure that had been carefully negotiated over several years by a broad range Massachusetts animal groups, including the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs.
- An amendment adopted on the Senate floor that establishes fines of $250-$1,500 for anyone who fails to license their kennel, unless they forfeit ownership and control of their dogs.
- Empowering the Department of Agricultural Resources to create rules and regulations for personal kennels with as few as eight intact female dogs.
Massachusetts legislative staff reports having received a multitude of calls in support of the legislation. Therefore all concerned Massachusetts dog owners are strongly encouraged to respond by calling House Speaker Robert DeLeo and by contacting their member of the Massachusetts House and express any concerns they may have with the proposal.
Senate Bill 2370 would also allow for the creation of regulations for the operation of certain commercial and private kennels, in Massachusetts, expand criteria for inspections, and place limits on the purchase of professionally bred pets. It includes:
- Consumer protection provisions that address cases where a veterinarian has declared an animal unfit for purchase (within 14 days of transfer) due to contagious or infectious diseases or severe parasitism that is likely to have been contracted on or before the sale and delivery of the animal, or (within one year of transfer) due to a congenital or hereditary condition that significantly and adversely impacts the health of the animal, requires hospitalization or non-elective surgical procedures, or caused the animal’s death. These protections do not apply to animals acquired from shelters or rescue organizations.
- Exceptions to buyer protections. This includes: cases involving injuries sustained or illnesses likely to have been contracted subsequent to the date or sale or transfer, health problems or hereditary or congenital conditions separately disclosed by the seller verbally and in writing with documentation signed by both the seller and buyer at the time of sale, sellers who provide documentation proving that the parents of animals with hereditary or congenital conditions were screened for health issues established by the Canine Health Information Center or comparable recognized animal health registry, or a finding of non-severe parasitism.
- Remedies for buyers of living animals, including returning the animal, exchanging the animal, or retaining the animal, along with case-dependent financial remuneration. Buyers of deceased animals would be entitled to a replacement animal or refund of the original purchase price plus veterinary fees paid up to the original purchase price. Sellers are not required to provide a buyer with a replacement animal.
- Procedures to allow a seller to challenge a veterinarian’s finding that an animal is unfit for purchase.
- Expanded rules for inspections of kennels. Inspections are to take place between 7AM & 7PM, unless an alternate time is mutually agreed upon by an inspector and a licensee. The licensee must be given prior notice of the inspection (unless deemed necessary to adequately perform the inspection), and the licensee or an authorized representative must be present during the inspection. Inspections at private residences must be limited to areas used for kenneling and for the maintenance of records. Those found with minor violations shall be issued written notice, requiring compliance within a reasonable specified time. Those found with major violations will have their licenses summarily revoked or suspended. Failure of those with minor offenses to come into compliance within the specified time period offered shall have their licenses revoked. Refusal to allow an inspection will also serve as grounds for denial, suspension, or revocation of a person’s kennel license.
- Limiting pet shops from purchasing animals for resale, or selling or offering for sale, animals that originated at or were purchased from a breeder, person, firm, or corporation that is required by law to be licensed under the federal Animal Welfare Act, but is not in possession of a current federal or (if required) state license, that was found to have committed a direct violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act during the two year period prior to purchase, was found to have committed three or more indirect violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, or has been cited in two most recent USDA inspection reports for no-access violations. Pet shops would also not be allowed to purchase dogs from sources not in compliance with Commonwealth requirements.
- Requirements that pet shops maintain records for two years after the sale of each animal.
- Allowance for localities to adopt ordinances that are stricter than the state’s law.
- Shelters and rescues would remain unregulated, while tens of thousands of dogs are imported into the Commonwealth each year for sale/adoption.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: All concerned Massachusetts dog owners are encouraged to call House Speaker Robert DeLeo and their member of the Massachusetts House and express any concerns they may have with the proposal.
Speaker Robert A. DeLeo
State House Phone: 617-722-2500
State House Fax: 617-722-2008
District Office (Revere) Phone: 781-289-8965
District Office (Revere) Fax: 781-289-0582
Massachusetts residents: Find your legislator’s contact information by clicking here and entering your location information.
Suggested phone script:
“Good morning/Good afternoon:
My name is ________, I’m a voting constituent [if you are], and I am calling in opposition to Senate Bill 2370.
The original version of the bill was a compromise that included input from many animal groups. Their work has not been amended without their involvement and will impact more hobby breeders. A $1,500 fine or seizure of a person’s dog is an unreasonable punishment for dog owners who are unlikely to even know about new changes in this law.
I oppose Senate Bill 2370, and I urge Representative ______ to oppose it as well.
AKC Government Relations will continue to provide updates SB 2370 as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC GR at 919-816-3720 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Massachusetts dog owners are strongly encouraged to respond by calling House Speaker Robert DeLeo and by contacting their member of the Massachusetts House and express any concerns they may have with the proposal.