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Category: Advocacy
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.


ARL President Testifies at State House in Support of Animal Protection Legislation

Proposed Legislation Would Have Wide-Ranging Impacts

This week Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) President Mary Nee and Law Enforcement Lead Investigator Lt. Alan Borgal appeared in front of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government at the Massachusetts State House, urging further discussion and ultimate passage of several important pieces of animal protection legislation.

The Bills

S. 1159 and H. 2419 — An Act to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns (PAWS II), builds upon the original PAWS Act of 2014, and incorporates a number of recommendations made by the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force — which was born out of the PAWS Act.

PAWS II has many elements, from prohibiting discrimination against dog breeds, to mandating cross-reporting between human and animal service agencies. President Nee emphasized the latter to the committee.

State House Blog Thumb

ARL President Mary Nee addresses Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government.

“I believe this bill is an important tool for human service investigators,” Nee said. “Often victims are reluctant to speak about abuse directed at them but are more comfortable talking about their pets. In this way, it may facilitate the discussion about the larger violence or exploitation happening. Animal abuse is often the red flag warning sign of concurrent and future violence and the earlier professionals can intervene, the higher the rate of success for both the victims and the animals.”

To read President Nee’s entire statement click here.

S. 1145 and H. 416 — An Act enhancing the issuance of citations for cruel conditions for animals, expands current law against cruel conditions to include farm animals. This proposal stems directly from the 2016 Westport animal cruelty case, which involved 1,400 animals. ARL was at the forefront of the coordinated rescue effort and law enforcement investigation.

“S. 1145 and H. 416 allows humane law enforcement to tackle misconceptions head-on by giving them and animal control officers an additional tool, and the people who own the animals a possible solution,” Nee said.

To read President Nee’s entire statement click here.

S. 1155 and H. 1080 — An Act relating to puppies & kittens also received a large amount of attention during this week’s hearing, and the bill would protect puppies, kittens, and consumers in a number of ways:

  1. Prohibit the sale of puppies and kittens under eight weeks of age;
  2. Improve the “puppy lemon law” to better protect and provide recourse for families who unknowingly purchase a sick puppy or kitten;
  3. Require the promulgation of rules and regulations for certain Massachusetts breeders;
  4. Ensure that Massachusetts pets at pet shops only sell puppies and kittens from breeders who adhere to minimum animal health and welfare standards.

The Importance of Advocacy

Part of being a Champion for Animals means being a voice for animals. ARL will continue to support legislation that improves the protection, safety, and well-being of animals, and oppose reforms that will endanger the welfare of animals in Massachusetts. Check back often for updates on the legislative process!


Boston Mayor Issues Important Reminder Following Tragic Dog Death

When the Temperature Rises — It’s Too Hot for Spot

Following the tragic and senseless death of a dog left in a hot car in Jamaica Plain on Tuesday, animal advocates, fellow animal welfare organizations, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh are joining the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in reminding the public that leaving an animal in a hot car isn’t just a health hazard — it’s also illegal in Massachusetts.

“It is terrible to lose an animal under such preventable circumstances,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in a statement to ARL. “As we close out the final weeks of summer, I remind all Bostonians to never leave pets alone in the car, especially on a hot day. If you see an animal locked in a car and are not able to immediately locate the owner, please call 911. You could help save a life.”

The investigation is ongoing, however officials believe the dog’s owner left the animal alone, in a pickup truck with California tags, for the better part of three hours. Despite the valiant efforts of first responders, the dog was unable to be saved.

While New England is in the height of summer, it’s important to remember that with temperatures even below 80 degrees, the threat for heat stroke still exists. Pets don’t sweat like humans do, making them unable to cool their bodies off efficiently in the heat.

Keep your pet safe and healthy by following these important guidelines:

  •   Prevention is always your best bet. Whenever possible, leave your pet at home in a low humidity and temperature-controlled room.
  •   If your pet must be outdoors, find a shady spot with ample air flow to prevent overheating.
  •   Hydration. This is key, so keep a bowl of cold water accessible at all times.
  •   Exercise wisely. Limit exercise to the morning or evening hours when temperatures are at their coolest.
  •   Never leave your pet alone in a parked car. When the outside temperature is just 80 degrees, inside a parked car, the temperature can rise to more than 100 degrees in a matter of minutes, leaving your pet susceptible to deadly heat stroke.

Too Hot for Spot Legislation

With the passage of S. 2369 in November, 2016, it is now illegal in Massachusetts to confine any animal in a vehicle when extreme heat or cold could be dangerous to the health and well-being of the animal. The law also allows Animal Control Officers, law enforcement officer and firefighters the legal right to enter a vehicle to retrieve an animal in danger. Regular citizens can also act to save an animal in danger, however only after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner, and contacting first responders. Pet owners can be cited up to $500 and face possible forfeiture of the animal.

Spread the Word

This tragic death certainly could have been avoided, and prevention is a part of responsible pet ownership. Never leave your animal in a hot car, and if you see an animal in distress, take action by contacting your local authorities immediately.

 


Understanding Too Hot For Spot

Heat Stroke is NO Joke and Can be Deadly

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Too Hot for Spot annual campaign kicks off this month, and this week we’re focusing on heat stroke. Heat stroke is potentially fatal, which is why you should never leave your animal in a hot car as temperatures can soar to well over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. Here’s some Q & A on heat stroke basics.

Q. What is heat stroke?

A. Heat stroke is a serious condition caused by your pet’s body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

Q. What makes cats and dogs susceptible to heat stroke?

A. Pets don’t sweat the way humans do, which makes them unable to cool their bodies efficiently in the heat. If their core body temperature rises too high, they run the risk of going into shock or organ failure.

Q. Which symptoms should I look for when trying to diagnose heat stroke in my pet?

A. More obvious symptoms include: difficulty breathing, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness. More subtle symptoms include: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, excessive thirst, and lethargy.

Q. Is there anything I can do until my pet receives veterinary attention?

A. While you wait for assistance, apply cool wet towels to the groin and “underarm” areas. If your pet is alert enough, try having them slowly sip cold water.

Q. How can I protect my cat or dog from getting heat stroke altogether?

A. Prevention is always your best bet. On hot days, leave your pet at home in a cool room with an accessible bowl of cold water. If your pet must be outdoors, find a shady spot with ample air flow and limit exercise to the morning or evening hours.

Every Second Counts

If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heat stroke, seek IMMEDIATE medical attention from a veterinarian.