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Category: Advocacy
PAWS II Signed into Law

PAWS II further bolsters Massachusetts animal protection law

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is pleased to announce that Governor Charlie Baker has officially signed PAWS II into law. An Act to Protect Animal Welfare and Safety in Cities and Towns passed unanimously in both the Senate and House, and was part of a whirlwind of activity for Governor Baker this past Thursday, who signed 53 bills into law.

PAWS II is an enormous step forward for animal protection law in Massachusetts and includes the following provisions:

  • Establishes a commission to explore mandatory reporting of animal cruelty (ARL will have a designated representative)
  • Ensures property owners check vacant properties for abandoned animals
  • Prohibits the automatic euthanasia of animal fighting victims
  • Ensures more efficient enforcement of animal control laws
  • Prohibits sexual contact with an animal
  • Prohibits the drowning of animals
  • Requires insurance companies offering homeowners or renters insurance to record and report circumstances surrounding dog-related incident claims to the MA Division of Insurance, the clerks in the Senate and House, and the ways and means committees for three years (last report to be filed by Jan 1, 2022)

“This legislation is a huge leap forward for animal protection in Massachusetts and was several years in the making,” said ARL President Mary Nee. “The Animal Rescue League of Boston is thrilled with its passage and appreciate the hard work and dedication of our elected officials to make the welfare of animals throughout the Commonwealth a priority.”

PAWS II builds upon the original PAWS Act that was passed in 2014 and was born out of the horrific discovery of the dog forever known as Puppy Doe in 2013. Along with increasing animal cruelty penalties and requiring veterinarians to report suspected abuse, the PAWS Act created the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force. ARL President Mary Nee was part of the 11-member group who was charged with investigating the effectiveness of existing laws, and determining where gaps still exist.

The PAWS II Act is a direct reflection of the Task Force’s hard work and recommendations.

ARL worked in collaboration with the Humane Society of the United States, MSPCA, and Best Friends Animal Society to educate the public and advocate for the passage of this bill and would sincerely like to thank the following legislators for their leadership and commitment to animal protection:

PAWS II Sponsors: Senator Mark Montigny; Senator Bruce Tarr; Representative Louis Kafka
Conference Committee: Representative Jim O’Day; Representative David Muradian, Representative Sarah Peake; Senator Tarr; Senator Montigny; Senator Adam Hinds

MA House: Representative Robert DeLeo (House Speaker); Representative Jeffery Sanchez (House Ways and Means Chair)

MA Senate: Senator Karen Spilka (Senate President); Senator Harriette Chandler (Former Senate President)


Governor Baker and MSP Join ARL for Too Hot for Spot Demonstration

ARL’s fifth annual public awareness campaign

This past Friday, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) was joined by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, legislators, and the Massachusetts State Police Major Richard Ball to once again remind pet owners of the dangers of heat stroke for pets, particularly in hot cars.

It is the fifth year ARL has imparted the “Too Hot for Spot” summer pet safety message throughout the Commonwealth. ARL is spreading this message through social media, flyers, car magnets, media partnerships, and digital billboards throughout the state thanks to billboard space generously donated by MassDOT and IBEW Local 103.

The event took place in front of the Massachusetts State House, and included a demonstration with ARL’s stuffed dog “Spot” to show how quickly the inside of a car can heat up – even with seemingly mild temperatures and the windows cracked.

It was a perfect summer day with temperatures hovering around 80 degrees. In just 10 minutes the temperature inside ARL’s Rescue Services vehicle rose to well over 120 degrees. It’s important to remember that animals do not sweat like humans do, and cannot efficiently regulate their body temperature in an environment such as a hot car.

Massachusetts General Law Ch. 140, Section 174f was signed by Governor Baker in 2016, and prohibits confining an animal “in a motor vehicle in a manner that could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal due to exposure to extreme or cold”. The law also allows first responders and ordinary citizens to enter a vehicle to remove an animal if it’s deemed that its life is in imminent danger.

“While our hope is that no one ever has to rescue an animal from a hot car, we understand those situations unfortunately do arise and lives can depend on a quick response,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Educating the public on the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars and the measures they can take to rescue an animal in need is a key prevention tool, and I thank the ARL for once again launching this important campaign.”

“Our pets provide limitless love and companionship, and we must do everything to protect them from neglectful owners who time and time again have shown a cruel disregard for their welfare,” said State Senator Mark Montigny, lead sponsor of the 2016 law penalizing the leaving of pets in hot cars.

Despite having a law on the books in Massachusetts, unfortunately Animal Control Officers and law enforcement are still seeing a high number of incidents where animals are left in hot vehicle and enduring needless suffering.

“The Massachusetts State Police and all law enforcement agencies consider animal cruelty and neglect to be serious crimes and assist animal rights organizations in investigating such crimes aggressively,” said Major Richard Ball, commander of MSP Troop H. “We urge the public to be familiar with the law that allows them to take action to rescue an animal confined in a hot car, and to tell law enforcement about any type of animal abuse they see or suspect. If you see something, say something.”

“The ‘dog days’ of summer are the perfect time to keep the safety of our pets in mind,” said State Representative Lori Ehrlich. “I hope this law never has to be used, but everyone should know the dangers of a hot car and what to do if you see an animal in danger. Prevention is best so I’m grateful to the Animal Rescue League of Boston for raising awareness.”

Prevention is Key

ARL’s “Too Hot for Spot” campaign is focused on reminding the public that prevention is always the best solution. When temperatures rise, ARL urges pet owners to leave their animals at home.


Massachusetts House Passes PAWS II

Historical animal protection legislation closer to becoming state law

This week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed H.4565 – An Act to Protect Animal Welfare and Safety in Cities and Towns (PAWS II). The measure passed unanimously 145-0.

“The Animal Rescue League of Boston is thrilled with the outcome of this vote and offers heart-felt congratulations to the House of Representatives, particularly Representative Lou Kafka for sponsoring this bill, House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez, and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo for their continued efforts to further protect animals throughout the Commonwealth,” said ARL President Mary Nee.

The House and Senate will work together to prepare the bill for Governor Baker’s desk.

PAWS II is a far-reaching piece of animal protection legislation and includes the following provisions:

  • Ensure that property owners check vacant properties for abandoned animals
  • Prevent the automatic euthanasia of animal fighting victims
  • Prohibit the drowning of animals
  • Ensure efficient enforcement of animal control laws
  • Prohibit sexual contact with an animal

PAWS II extends from the original PAWS Act which was passed in 2014 on the heels of the horrific 2013 discovery of a tortured dog in Quincy who would forever be known as Puppy Doe.

Along with increasing cruelty penalties and strengthening Massachusetts law, the original PAWS Act also created the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force. The Task Force examined areas of Massachusetts animal law that needed to be updated. PAWS II is the culmination of the task force’s work and recommendations.


Lobbying for PAWS II Passage

ARL Co-Hosts Event at Massachusetts State House

On Wednesday, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) joined legislators, animal advocates and other animal organizations for a special event at the Massachusetts State House, to directly lobby law makers for the passage of S. 2347: An Act to Protect Animal Welfare and Safety in Cities and Towns (PAWS II).

PAWS II recently passed in the Massachusetts Senate and will soon be addressed in the House.

Nearly 100 constituents and animal advocates were on hand to learn specific aspects of the omnibus bill, lobbying strategies, and finally to meet face to face with legislators.

PAWS II

On the heels of the horrific discovery of Puppy Doe and ensuing investigation in 2013, the original PAWS Act was passed in 2014, which strengthened animal cruelty penalties in Massachusetts, and also created the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force, of which ARL was a member.

PAWS II derives from recommendations made by the task force and would protect animals in the Commonwealth in a multitude of ways.

If passed, the bill would:

  • Require the cross-reporting of animal abuse;
  • Prohibit the drowning of animals;
  • Prohibit the automatic killing of animal fighting victims;
  • Prohibit discrimination against dog breeds;
  • Require property owners to look for animals when property is vacated and notify the police or an animal control officer if an animal is found; and
  • Prohibit sexual contact with an animal or forcing a child to engage in sexual contact with an animal.

ARL thanks Senators Mark Montigny, Bruce Tarr, and Karen Spilka for their continued efforts to fight animal cruelty and abuse in the Commonwealth. ARL would also like to thank our colleagues at the MSPCA, HSUS for collaborative advocacy efforts.

PAWS II is just one of several bills that is a part of ARL’s Legislative Agenda. With your help, we can further protect animals throughout the Commonwealth!

WE ARE CHAMPIONS FOR ANIMALS.


PAWS II Lobby Day: Protect Animal Welfare and Safety

On Wednesday, May 9, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) will join the Animal Cruelty Task Force, Massachusetts legislators, and other organizations for a special lobbying event to advance S.2347: An Act to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns (PAWS II).

PAWS II Lobby Day will take place on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Room 428 at the Massachusetts State House.

Legislative Action

The discovery of Puppy Doe in 2013, and the subsequent investigation that followed inspired legislative action to protect animals. As a result, in 2014, the original PAWS Act was passed and strengthened penalties against animal abuse. It also created the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force.

Puppy Doe.

Massachusetts can continue to strengthen animal protection laws by passing PAWS II (S.2347: An Act to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns). The bill has passed the Senate and is currently in the House.

PAWS II includes several provisions, some of which are included below. PAWS II would:

– Require the cross-reporting of animal abuse;
– Prohibit the drowning of animals;
– Prohibit the automatic killing of animal fighting victims;
– Prohibit discrimination against dog breeds;
– Require property owners to look for animals when property is vacated and notify the police or an animal control officer if an animal is found; and
– Prohibit sexual contact with an animal or forcing a child to engage in sexual contact with an animal.

PAWS II is just one of several bills that is a part of ARL’s Legislative Agenda. With your help, we can further protect animals throughout the Commonwealth!

WE ARE CHAMPIONS FOR ANIMALS.


Animal Protection Legislation Moving Forward

On Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate passed S. 2332 An Act to protect animal welfare in cities and towns (PAWS II). It’s a big step forward for the legislation that would protect animals in Massachusetts in a multitude of ways.

Key provisions of the bill include:

  • Mandated reporting of cruelty, abuse, or neglect between human and animal welfare agencies
  • Updated penalties for acts of animal cruelty
  • Ensure landlords/owners check vacant properties for abandoned animals
  • Prohibit a number of cruel acts, including the drowning of animals

Also on Thursday, S. 2331 – An Act relative to protecting puppies and kittens was also passed in the Senate.

Both bills will now go to the House for debate.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) would like to thank Senators Mark Montigny, Bruce Tarr, and Karen Spilka for their continued efforts to fight animal cruelty and abuse in the Commonwealth. ARL would also like to thank our colleagues at the MSPCA, HSUS, Mass. Coalition to End Puppy Mills, and Western Massachusetts Animal Advocates.

Be sure to check out 2018 Legislative Agenda page, and we’ll keep you updated as these bills make their way through the House.


An Open Letter Opposing Cape Cod Coyote Killing Contest

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), with an Animal Care & Adoption Center in Brewster, MA, is deeply troubled by the spectacle of killing coyotes for contest on Cape Cod. We are horrified to see people compete for cash prizes to see who can kill the heaviest of these animals. Contests like this are harmful for numerous reasons, including child health, public health, and wildlife management.

First, public hunting contests negatively affect children who witness these displays. Children who witness animal violence may become desensitized to animal abuse, which is often a precursor to other forms of abuse toward the elderly, the disabled, and family. Organizations such as the National Link Coalition research, document, and evaluate the link between violence toward animals as a predictor of future violence affecting both animals and humans. With a rise of violence in our nation’s schools, now, more than ever, we should protect children from witnessing or seeing harmful images or bodies of animal slaughter, especially for money.

Second, coyote hunting contests presented as management strategies for species overpopulation are unsupported by population counts or research. In fact, articles such as Megan Draheim’s, “Why Killing Coyotes Doesn’t Make Livestock Safer” published in the Scientific American, argue that the wide-spread killing of coyotes could actually result in a larger and unmanageable wildlife population because when coyotes are killed, they breed more rapidly and disrupt remaining wildlife.

Third, coyote hunting overlooks the role that coyotes have in the Massachusetts ecosystem. Coyotes control species and disease populations because their diet consists of rodents, rabbits, deer, birds, insects, and reptiles. They keep diseased animals from reproducing. By controlling rodent populations, coyotes protect crops and agriculture in Massachusetts.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston notes that the etymological meaning of the word “contest” is “together to witness.” As we, united with advocates on behalf of animals and children, bear witness to the contest that unfolds on Cape Cod, hope that Massachusetts legislators and citizens look to states like California and Vermont, who have undertaken legislative measures to prohibit coyote hunting tournaments.

A radical kill of animals for a cash prize is not consistent with sentiments of Massachusetts citizens and is inhumane for animals. It is harmful to children exposed to the unethical slaughter of animals for a cash prize.

Mary Nee

President, Animal Rescue League of Boston


Legislative Update: ARL-Supported Poaching Bill Passes Through Massachusetts Senate

Bill Aims to Stiffen and Modernize Illegal Hunting Penalties

The Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed proposed legislation aimed to protect wildlife by increasing penalties and measures to stop illegal hunting, or poaching, in the state. The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has publicly advocated for the measure since its filing in January of 2017.

Many of the state’s current poaching penalties are about a century out of date, and S. 2248, an Act Further Regulating the Enforcement of Illegal Hunting Practices, would modernize the current antiquated legislation. This bill would bring penalties in line with other states, elevating fines, jail time, and hunting and fishing license suspensions for certain crimes, including the commercialization of fish and wildlife.

Additionally the legislation would bring Massachusetts into the Interstate Law Enforcement Compact. Currently Massachusetts is one of only three states that is not a member of the network which has been helping wildlife agencies increase compliance with wildlife laws for 25 years.

With passage in the Senate, the bill will now go to the House. ARL would like to thank Senate bill sponsor Senator Mike Moore and House bill sponsors, Representatives Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Lori Ehrlich, and Cory Atkins for all their hard work and dedication.

Get Involved

ARL is dedicated to preventing animal cruelty and neglect by strengthening law and public policy, and continues to be a voice for domesticated animals and wildlife in need. Please view our current Legislative Agenda, and we urge you to contact your representatives and encourage them to help further animal protection policy in Massachusetts.


Boston “Puppy Mill Bill” Takes Effect

Ordinance Prohibits Sale of Puppies, Kittens and Rabbits in Boston Pet Shops

In March 2016, Boston City Council voted unanimously on an ordinance to ban the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits in Boston pet shops, as well as in public parks and city streets. The ordinance took effect on December 31, 2017.

The ordinance was introduced by City Councilor Matt O’Malley and garnered tremendous support from the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and other local and national animal welfare organizations.

“We are grateful to the Boston City Council for taking action for animals,” Mary Nee, President of ARL, said at the time of its passage. “The more we do to prevent inhumane breeders from growing their business in Massachusetts, the more we improve the safety and health of animals in our communities.”

Under the “Puppy Mill Bill” a pet shop within the city limits cannot sell, deliver, give away or transfer any commercially-bred dogs, cats, or rabbits. Additionally, citizens are prohibited from selling, exchanging, trading, or displaying for commercial purposes any dog, cat, or rabbit on any city street or public park. Animals for sale can however be displayed by animal organizations like ARL, or as part of an exhibition or educational program.

Puppy mills support the breeding of animals, and many of these animals are kept in unthinkable conditions, treated inhumanely, and suffer from disease; in an act to combat these operations ARL once again salutes Boston City Council and Mayor Marty Walsh for being champions for animals!

 


The Dangers of Tethering

“Diesel” Suffered Necrotic Foot Due to Tethering

In mid-October, Diesel, a five-year-old black lab mix, was seized by the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) after undergoing an emergency leg amputation at a partner care facility in Norfolk County. The dog was tethered in his previous home, and as a result wound up having his right hind leg entangled in the chain. The chain cut off the circulation, his foot became necrotic and painful, and Diesel was discovered chewing on his foot as a result of the injuries.

diesel blog body thumb

Diesel has no problems getting around after his amputation surgery.

Because his foot was beyond repair, amputation was the best surgical option, however, despite being sans one leg, Diesel has not let this slow him down at all.

“Diesel is a wonderful, energetic dog,” said ARL Veterinarian Dr. Kate Gollon. “He is healing well from his surgery and gaining weight appropriately. He should have no lasting effects from this incident and gets around well on three legs.”

Diesel’s case serves as a reminder of not just the dangers of tethering, but also the legal ramifications of excessive tethering.

Massachusetts Tethering Statute Updated

In 2016, the state’s anti-tethering statute was updated as part of S.2369, An Act to Prevent Animal Suffering and Death — a piece of legislation that ARL strongly advocated for. Under the law dogs cannot be:

  • Tethered to a stationary object for longer than five hours in a 24-hour period
  • Tethered outside from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m., unless not for more than 15 minutes and when the owner, guardian, or keeper is present
  • Confined outside when a weather advisory, warning, or watch is issued by local, state, or federal authority; or when environmental conditions such as extreme heat, cold, rain, snow, or hail pose as adverse risk to health or safety of the dog, based upon the dog’s breed, age, or physical condition and unless tethered for less than 15 minutes.

Additionally, law enforcement officers from ARL and MSPCA, who come upon situations where this new law is being violated, now have the authority to issue citations to violators when an Animal Control Officer is unavailable or unresponsive. ARL’s Law Enforcement Department also held a series of forums with Animal Control Officers in the spring to discuss the changes to the law.

“This statute is important on a variety of fronts,” said ARL Law Enforcement Lead Investigator Lt. Alan Borgal. “First off, tethering a dog can have tremendously negative impacts. The animal can become lonely, anxious, which may lead to aggressive behavior. Secondly, there is a high risk of injury with tethering including hanging and entanglement, which sadly was the case with Diesel. These laws are in place to protect these animals, and to ensure that they are being taken care of properly.”

Vigilance is Key

While the outcome for Diesel will ultimately be positive as he will wind up in a loving home, the same cannot be said for countless animals that are constantly tethered. ARL is a Champion for Animals, and you can be too by keeping a watchful eye, and if you see anything you may deem as cruel, report it immediately to ARL Law enforcement, or your local authorities.