Yesterday, the Massachusetts Senate suspended its rules and hastily approved Senate Bill 2994 (formerly Senate Bill 1322), an anti-breeder “puppies and kittens” bill that was amended late last week by the Senate Ways and Means Committee. S. 2994 is a significant departure from its predecessor, as it would significantly alter the state’s current protections for owners of “personal kennels”.
SUMMARY: As previously reported, S.1322 sought to address injuries and deaths at dog daycare facilities, but included requirements for all types of “commercial boarding or training kennels”. However, that bill would have negatively impacted individual dog owners, as it included restrictions on the right to own and keep dogs; and made broad, significant changes to state law that would result in duplicative license requirements.
S.2994 would also remove the current law’s protections for the owners of personal kennels (“a pack or collection of more than 4 dogs, 3 months old or older, owned or kept under single ownership, for private personal use”). Owners of personal kennels currently enjoy specific protections, including the ability to breed personally-owned dogs for the purpose of improving, exhibiting, or showing the breed; for use in legal sporting activities; or for other personal reasons. S.2994 would remove those protections for conformation and performance breeders! Most owners of “personal kennels” would become subject to mandatory municipal licensure and regulation as “breeder kennels”, including inspections of home-based kennels. The bill would also eliminate the current law’s recognition of keeping dogs for personal, non-commercial use.
S.2994 is supported by organizations that have effectively co-opted the issue of dog daycare operations with anti-breeder provisions they have pushed for at least as far back as 2013 in older versions of the “puppies and kittens” legislation. S.2994 is now largely silent on the issues of dog daycares.
TAKE ACTION TODAY! With only three weeks remaining in the current legislative session, it is imperative that all concerned breeders, owners, and AKC-affiliated clubs in Massachusetts contact the Speaker of the House, the House Ways and Means Committee Chair, and their elected members of the House.
Let them know:
(1) Last minute amendments to S.2994 are onerous to many who keep dogs for personal, non-commercial purposes,
(2) S.2994 imposes an unfunded licensing and inspection mandate on cities and towns, and
(3) The Senate did not allow adequate time to receive constituent input on the amended S.2994.
(4) Most importantly, respectfully request that S.2994 NOT be moved to the House floor for a vote.
Contact information follows:
House Speaker Ron Mariano
Phone: (617) 722-2500
Fax: (617) 722-2750
House Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz
Phone: (617) 722-2990
Fax: (617) 570-6575
To find your individual member of the Massachusetts House, to go https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator and enter your street address.
The American Kennel Club’s Government Relations Department (AKC GR) will continue to provide updates and action alerts on S.2949. For more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.