On Tuesday, September 28, multiple animal bills will be reviewed by the Massachusetts Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee between 12pm and 3pm. Most have been re-filed from last session. The American Kennel Club (AKC) strongly encourages those who reside in Massachusetts to again contact the committee and share the following concerns:
- HB 2130 (“Relative to Puppy Mills”) would require commercial breeder kennels, which are licensed by their municipality, to also obtain an annual municipal “breeders” license upon evaluation. This is unnecessary because animal control officers and the state department of agriculture already have authority to inspect kennels, quarantine sick animals and penalize kennels not providing adequate care and living conditions.
- HB 2148 and SB 1322 (“Protecting the Health and Safety of Puppies and Kittens in Cities and Towns”) are companion bills that would require a state license after inspection in addition to the local license issued to personal, commercial, and training kennels. These bills also authorize authorities to place a limit on the number of dogs you can keep and establish other restrictions.The AKC strongly supports the right to own, keep and breed dogs in a responsible and humane manner. We oppose laws that limit the number of dogs a responsible owner may own as well as unreasonable limitations on pet ownership. Details on the harmful impact of limit laws can be viewed here.
- SB 1341 (“Protecting Animal Welfare in Cities and Towns”) would allow a court to award non-economic damages to the owner of a dog or cat that died due to the negligence of another person. The AKC supports the appropriate awarding of traditional economic damages in cases involving negligent injury to an animal. Along with criminal laws that prohibit animal cruelty and dog fighting and civil laws that address both intentional and negligent injury or death of an animal, traditional economic damages in cases involving the negligent injury or death to an animal help create a stable legal system.Although the concept of additional, non-economic damages may sound benign, it represents a potential change in the legal status of animals (implying animal rights) by awarding damages that heretofore have been reserved only for close relatives of impacted individuals. Additionally, the awarding of non-economic damages would significantly increase the cost of care; ultimately undermining the ability of pet owners to care for their pets. A summary of how awarding non-economic damage claims harms animal wellbeing can be viewed
For more information and talking points about these issues, visit the key issues section of the AKC Legislative Action Center (www.akcgr.org).
Other bills under review include:
- HB 2209 would require assessment of a dangerous dog with recommendations for training.
- HB 2132 would increase the fines for cruelty to animals and establish a fund dedicated to improvements for local animal shelters.
- HB 2146 would create the same consumer protections irrespective of where a pet was acquired.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Massachusetts residents are strongly encouraged to submit written testimony via email to email@example.com. Please include the bill number and “Testimony” in the subject line of the email and address your comments to House Chair Rep. Lori Ehrlich and Senate Chair Sen. John Cronin.
If you wish to virtually attend and speak at the September 28 hearing starting at 12pm, be sure to sign in by completing this form before Friday, September 24 at 5 pm.