On Monday, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) joined fellow animal welfare organizations to address the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure on two pieces of legislation that ARL is actively supporting.
The hearing chambers were standing room only, indicating the passion behind these bills.
The bills were part of a lengthy agenda at the Massachusetts State House, and address two important issues: the retail sale of animals at pet shops, and the inhumane practice of declawing.
For WFXT’s coverage of the hearing click here!
S.175 and H.800 – An Act Banning the Retail Sale of Dogs and Cats in Pet Shops aims to cease the operation by pet stores of obtaining animals from “puppy mills” because they allow the cruelty at the mills to remain hidden from consumers.
“Plain and simple, where pet shops acquire their animals are inhumane,” stated Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services. “Although these breeding facilities are inspected by the USDA, the standards are extremely low and continually allow for this inhumane treatment.”
The legislation does not prevent consumers from acquiring a dog, cat, or rabbit from a responsible breeder or shelter or rescue organization. Further, it does not prohibit pet shops from partnering with shelters or rescues to provide animals in their store.
ARL also made public comment on S.169 – An Act Prohibiting Inhumane Feline Declawing.
This proposed bill would prohibit declawing as an elective procedure, simply for the purposes of convenience or to mitigate property destruction.
Under the proposed bill, declawing would only be allowed for “therapeutic purposes”. These would include addressing an existing or recurring infection, disease, injury, or abnormal condition in the claw that jeopardizes the cat’s health as a medical necessity.
Violations of the proposed bill would include fines upward of $2,500 for repeated offenses and the possibility of forfeiture of the animal as well.
ARL believes that declawing a healthy cat is not only inhumane, but may cause the cat a multitude of long-term medical issues.
“We (ARL) are opposed to these needless, elective surgeries which can and do cause unnecessary pain and discomfort that can affect the cat for its entire life,” Dr. Schettino testified.
Government is of course “of the people, by the people, and for the people” and you can have a direct impact on these important bills moving forward in the legislative process.
If you support these measures, contact your elected officials and urge them to further animal protection law in Massachusetts by supporting the proposed bills.
We encourage you to read ARL’s 2019-2020 legislative agenda. See what bills ARL supports and opposes and what you can do to make sure your voice is heard!