ARL Advocacy testifies in number of animal protection bills
The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Advocacy Department was busy this past week on Beacon Hill, as ARL publicly supported several bills on the organization’s legislative agenda.
The Joint Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources held a hearing on a number of ARL priority bills, including the ban of pet shops, regulation of commercial boarding and training facilities, funding for animal welfare and safety programming, and a ban on the sale of new fur.
Legislative rules allow that every bill get a public hearing, with opportunity for legislators and the public to share their thoughts.
While testimony could only be provided in-person previously, the Legislature now has all hearings hybrid, making it so that people from around the Commonwealth (and the world!) can testify without having to make their way into Boston.
Filed for a number of sessions, this year the pet shop bill reflects the immediate concerns of new pet shops in Massachusetts.
An Act banning the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in new pet shops (H.826 sponsored by Representatives Natalie M. Higgins, Kimberly N. Ferguson; S.549 sponsored by Senator O’Connor) takes after the law passed in Maine in 2020, which would prohibit the opening of new pet stores in the Commonwealth.
With the ban on pet stores in New York, Massachusetts could become a haven for these pet stores.
ARL also provided testimony in support of An Act banning the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet shops (S.550 sponsored by Senator O’Connor).
Across Massachusetts, 13 municipalities have passed local level prohibitions on the sale of dogs and cats, with many municipalities adding additional animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs.
Animals from pet stores often travel long distances to get to Massachusetts, and can harbor and spread diseases dangerous to people and animals.
Small animals like rabbits are common in shelters, and the sale of them in pet shops has contributed to to a number of abandoned animals over the past few years.
ARL continues to support local level bans as well.
ARL has been supportive of efforts to protect animals at boarding and daycare facilities through increased standards for boarding and training kennels.
Filed again this session, An Act protecting dogs at boarding kennels and daycare facilities (H.385 sponsored by Representative Hannah Kane; S.548 sponsored by Senator Patrick O’Connor) would allow for uniform state standards at these facilities, including around staff to dog ratios, group sizes and supervision, and other important protections.
Currently, the only statewide standard for these facilities is that they are “sanitary and humane”.
Looking for some information on how to vet a facility before you book your pet’s holiday stay? Check out ARL’s Board Safely ™ checklist for what to look for and what questions to ask.
An Act to provide additional funding for animal welfare and safety programming (S.533 sponsored by Senator Mark Montigny) would take fines from animal welfare violations and, instead of them going back into the General Fund, would specifically put them into the Homeless Animal Fund, which provides for funding for spay/neuter, preventative care, and training for animal control officers.
For the second legislative session, the Massachusetts Legislature has considered a ban on all new fur sold in the state.
Aside from the cruelty of fur farming, fur farming has contributed to the spread of diseases such as COVID-19, with outbreaks on mink farms that lead to the culling of millions of animals.
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