Massachusetts Senate Bill 1155, which seeks to impose regulatory oversight over personal and commercial kennels, mandate annual inspections of all kennels, and create consumer protections laws, is expected to be formally adopted into a new amended bill, Senate Bill 2331, and possibly voted on by the full Senate on Thursday, March 15. If enacted as currently written, these bills would onerously impact all responsible dog breeders in Massachusetts, including owners of personal kennels. It is imperative that all concerned breeders and owners in Massachusetts contact Senate leadership and their state senator and respectfully request they oppose Senate Bill 1155/Senate Bill 2331.
S.1155/S.2331 are the most current versions of bills that have been considered over the past two sessions of the Massachusetts legislature. While previous versions contained fairer provisions that had been negotiated by a cross-section of animal interest groups under the direction of the General Court, the current version of the bills has reverted back to many troublesome provisions that were originally proposed years ago.
Problematic provisions of S.1155/S.2331 would:
- Require the Department of Agricultural Resources to create extensive commercial-type rules and regulations for personal as well as commercial breeder kennels, if a person keeps five intact female dogs or cats are kept to breed and sell offspring as household pets. Requirements for private personal kennels would based on the American Veterinary Medical Association model commercial breeder regulations which are designed for high-volume dog retailers. While appropriate for commercial enterprises, such standards are not appropriate for all private, home-based settings.
- Mandate the annual inspection of the premises of all cat and dog owners who keep more than 5 cats and/or dogs and thus may be required to obtain a “kennel” license. It also provides guidelines for when, where, and how inspections may take place.
The American Kennel Club reiterates our longstanding concerns with Senate Bill 1155. First, S.1155 empowers the Department of Agricultural Resources to create rules and regulations for commercial breeder kennels and personal kennels were at least five sexually intact female dogs or cats are kept to breed and sell the offspring as pets. This numerical threshold is unreasonably low, as a pet owner who has five dogs and/or cats and breeds one litter average-sized litter could qualify for regulation under S.1155/S.2331. Furthermore, the current phrasing is unreasonably vague, as it appears to also include situations where dogs kept are under a personal kennel license specifically for showing, field trials or other sports or purposes but from which a household pet may occasionally be sold.
For these reasons, we ask that the language be amended to raise the numerical threshold and to apply only to situations where the sole purpose is actively breeding and selling the offspring as household pets.
Second, by allowing localities to adopt ordinances stricter than the state’s law, S.1155 will facilite the creation of an inequitable patchwork of dog laws that will make Commonwealth regulatory action unnecessarily complicated. In the interest of fairness and consistency, the AKC recommends deletion of this provision.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
Call or email Massachusetts Senate Leadership, as well as your Massachusetts State Senator TODAY and respectfully urge them to oppose or amend S.1155/S.2331.
Senator Harriet L. Chandler, President of the Senate
Senator Cynthia Stone Creem, Majority Leader
Senator Marc R. Pacheco, President Pro Tempore
Senator Mark C. Montigny, Assistant Majority Leader
Senator Patricia D. Jehlen, Assistant Majority Leader
Senator Sal. N. DiDomenico, Assistant Majority Leader
Senator Michael J. Rodrigues, Senator Majority Whip
Senator Jason M. Lewis, Assistant Majority Whip
Senator Bruce E. Tarr, Minority Leader
Senator Donald F. Humason, Jr., Assistant Minority Leader
Senator Richard J. Ross, Assistant Minority Leader
Senator Ryan C. Fattman, Minority Whip
Senator Patrick M. O’Connor, Minority Whip
Click here to get your Massachusetts senator’s contact information.
AKC Government Relations (AKCGR) will continue to provide updates on these bills, as well as other pending Massachusetts legislation. For more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact MassFed at www.massfeddogs.org.