Thursday, May 30, 2019
Multiple bills seeking to impose regulatory oversight over personal and commercial kennels, mandate annual inspections of all kennels, and create consumer protections laws is scheduled for consideration by the Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee on Tuesday, June 4th. These bills would onerously impact all responsible dog breeders in Massachusetts, including owners of personal kennels. Both the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (MassFed) oppose H.1774, S. 114, H. 1757, H.1758, H. 1823 and S. 1204 as written.
TAKE ACTION NOW! Concerned breeders and owners in Massachusetts, including AKC-affiliated dog club representatives should attend the June 4th hearing, and MUST contact the members of the Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee prior to the hearing expressing concerns.
- Requiring the Department of Agricultural Resources to create extensive commercial-type rules and regulations for both commercial breeder kennels and personal kennels where intact female dogs or cats are kept to be bred and sell their offspring as household pets.
- Requiring in S.114 that the rules to be largely based on the American Veterinary Medical Association model commercial breeder regulations (which are designed for high-volume dog retailers), to specifically include legislative mandates for solid flooring in primary enclosures and prohibit any stacking of cages.
- Expressly authorizing in H. 1774 that the city or town that issues any kennel license to decide and specify the maximum number of dogs that may be maintained by a licensee.
Additional potentially problematic bills being considered that have been carried over from prior sessions include:
House Bill 1757 seeks to carve out specific requirements for commercial breeder kennels by the Commissioner of Agricultural Resources (in addition to current municipal oversight). H.1757 also empowers the Commissioner to create standards of care for commercial breeder kennels, to include appropriate living space, shelter, nutrition, and sanitary conditions.
- 1758 increases fines for cruelty to animals, with the monies collected going into a special municipal account where the violation occurred, dedicated to funding animal shelter improvements or to be used at the municipality’s discretion providing it benefits local groups dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and/or the promotion of the adoption of shelter animals.
Other bills scheduled to be considered include H. 1823 and S. 1204, which seek to impose consumer warranty provisions on pet shops and breeders that are intended to protect the pet-buying public. The AKC believes that breeders and sellers should be responsible for providing certain refunds, replacements, or reimbursements should the dog sold become ill or die from a condition contracted prior to the purchase. However, remedies should be conditioned upon the buyer’s adherence to the care and feeding program prescribed by the breeder and/or seller, as well as a timely examination by a state licensed veterinarian.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
All concerned breeders and owners in Massachusetts, as well as AKC-affiliated dog club representatives, are strongly encouraged to attend the June 4th hearing of the Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee. They should also contact the committee chairmen prior to the hearing, and respectfully express opposition to H.1774 and S.114. Use the talking points above.
Hearing information: The Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government is expected to meet on Tuesday, June 4th, at 11AM, in Room A-1 at the State House in Boston, 24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133.
Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee
Senate Chair Rebecca Rausch – Becca.Rausch@masenate.gov or (617) 722-1555.
House Chair James O’Day – James.O’Day@mahouse.gov or (617) 722- 2090.
AKC Government Relations 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 MassFed at www.massfeddogs.org.