Animal Welfare Bills — Session Wrap up

Good news first: The Governor has signed Senate 2192, an Act further regulating animal control, which we enacted earlier this week.

The Senate President’s office released this summary of the bill:

This legislation further regulates animal control in the Commonwealth and brings up-to-date the animal control laws. This bill strengthens dog ordinances without targeting specific breeds, increases training for local animal control officials, creates a statewide spay/neuter program designed to reduce the number of homeless animals and prohibits certain inhumane methods of euthanasia for cats and dogs. Under this bill, pets are allowed to be included in domestic abuse orders, which will protect animals and allows for victims of abuse to leave their partners without risking further injury to their pets.

Click here for the full text of Senate 2192 as amended.

Now to the mixed news:

  • A great many people wrote to me about the farm animal cruelty bill, H458/S786. I am a cosponsor of this bill and I feel strongly about it. It did make it out of committee, but did not make it across the finish line before the end of the formal session. It is possible for a bill like this to pass during the informal sessions that will continue through the end of the year if it has unanimous support. My instinct, however, is that some legislators from agricultural districts will not support this bill. So, although I remain passionate about the issue, and will be alert for opportunities to advance the bill, I am not optimistic about its prospects in this session.
  • Senate 1706 would have regulated the treatment of circus elephants. This bill was put to study earlier in the session. I supported this bill actively, but some legislators who investigated the issue came away feeling that the gruesome sounding “bull hooks” were not actually instruments of cruelty and that there had not been injuries in Massachusetts as a result of their use. Be that as it may, the issue is dead for the year.
  • House 2326, which would clarify that unnecessary denial of veterinary care may be prosecuted as felony animal cruelty, is pending now on the Senate side. I do support this bill. It is general in scope, but is captioned as “An Act to ensure adequate care of animals in cities and towns”, so it may be perceived as aimed at animal control officers. People may feel we have done enough in general to clarify the rules for animal control officers in this session by passing S.2192.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

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