This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Advocacy team participated in a rally on the front steps of the Massachusetts State House, urging legislators to pass legislation to implement uniform regulations for animal boarding facilities throughout the Commonwealth.
Currently there are no regulations regarding doggie day care and boarding facilities in Massachusetts.
At the beginning of the legislative session, a piece of legislation dubbed “Ollie’s Law” was filed, and sought to establish regulations regarding animal health and employee safety, allowing pet families to choose the best facility to suit their animal’s needs.
This legislation was born out of tragedy. In 2020, Amy Baxter brought her Labradoodle Ollie to a Western Massachusetts doggie daycare facility, only to receive a text shortly after saying Ollie had a cut and needed to be picked up. While the only employee working left the dogs unsupervised, he had been attacked by other dogs and was severely injured. Sadly Ollie died of his injuries two months later.
While the facility was shuttered by town officials, Baxter was stunned to learn that there were no state regulations regarding boarding facilities, and soon took up the fight to help ensure tragedy’s like this never happen again.
Unfortunately, the bill did not move forward.
However, An act protecting the health and safety of puppies and kittens in cities and towns (S.1332), remains very much alive, and does include language to establish regulations for boarding facilities.
ARL, along with other animals advocates make up the Ollie’s Law Coalition, and used this week’s rally to not only inform the public of a lack of regulations for boarding facilities, but to publicly urge the legislature to take action.
The goal is to prevent further tragedies like Ollie in the future.
“It’s my way honoring Ollie and also my way of healing myself and my family,” Baxter said. “If we can prevent this from happening again — whether it’s in Ollie’s name or not — then I’ll feel we accomplished something significant.”
“Every day that kennels and daycares are unregulated, the burden is on pet families to ensure that their pets are in good hands,” stated ARL Director of Advocacy Ally Blanck. “Reasonable regulation would protect pets, families, and the employees at these businesses.”
ARL’s Board Safely™ Campaign
With a continued lack of regulations in place for boarding facilities, it’s up to pet owners to do their own research when choosing a place to board their pet.
ARL’s Board Safety™ campaign provides pet families with the tools to help selecting a facility that is right for them.
Click here to see the steps you need to take to help ensure your pet will be taken care of.