2023-2024 Legislative Agenda

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) monitors and advocates for statewide legislation on issues critical to animal welfare in the Commonwealth. Our legislative agenda highlights our priorities for the two year session. Contact advocacy@arlboston.org for more information.

Learn how a bill becomes a law in Massachusetts.

Bills ARL Actively Supports
Bills ARL Opposes

ACTIVE SUPPORT: These bills are closely related to our current work and will be the focus of our advocacy efforts. This will include meeting with legislators, sharing information through emails and social media, and participating in hearings.

Preventing Cruelty and Neglect

Kennel Safety

An Act to increase kennel safety aka Ollie’s Law (H.4564; S.2731)

Sponsors: Representative Brian Ashe, Senator Mark Montigny 

Status: Reported favorably from the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government

Currently, kennels in Massachusetts have limited standards. This proposed bill would create regulations for kennels, including commercial boarding and daycares. This bill is named after Ollie, a puppy who died from injuries sustained at a pet daycare.  

Related bills: An Act protecting dogs at boarding kennels and daycare facilities (H.385, Rep. Hannah Kane); An Act protecting dogs at boarding kennels and daycare facilities (S.548, Senator Patrick O’Connor)

Pet Shops

Act banning the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in new pet shops (H.826; S.549)

Sponsors: Representatives Natalie M. Higgins, Kimberly N. Ferguson; Senator O’Connor 

Status: Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources extended reporting deadline to 6/14/24

Proposed bill would prohibit the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in new pet shops throughout Massachusetts. Would not prohibit pet shops from partnering with shelters or rescues to display/facilitate adoptions.  

Related bills: An Act banning the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet shops (S.550, Sen. O’Connor) 

Increasing Awareness and Action

Animal Cruelty Law Upgrades

An Act relative to the humane protection of animals (S.1142; H.1718)

Sponsors:  Senator John Velis; Representatives Edward Philips, Jessica Giannino  

Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary extended the reporting deadline to 4/30/2024

A new file this session, this bill would increase protections for animals without utilizing the existing felony statute, such as creating a pathway to get custody of animals in danger without criminal charges and a task force on creating a misdemeanor statute. Additionally, this bill would prohibit the sale of puppies and kittens under 8 weeks, prohibit roadside sales, and clarify that dogs and cats are not livestock.

Non-Criminal Options

An Act enhancing the issuance of citations for cruel conditions for animals (S.1059; H.2102)

Sponsors: Senator Mark Montigny, Representative Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr. 

Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary extended the reporting deadline to 4/30/2024

Inspired by the 2016 Westport case, this proposed bill would expand civil citation authority for cruel conditions to include all animals. Would define cruel conditions and appropriate shelter, expanding on protections in the law for dogs.  

Related bills: An Act relative to improving enforcement for tethering violations (S.1056, Senator Mark Montigny) 


An Act prohibiting inhumane feline declawing (S.190)

Sponsors: Senator Mark Montigny 

Status: Passed Senate 1/18/24, currently in House Ways and Means

Prohibits declaw of animals, except for the animal’s medical needs. Declawed cats are often in significant pain, and can have behavioral issues including biting and difficulty using a litter box.  

Protecting Animals after an Animal Cruelty Conviction

An Act to protect animals from convicted animal abusers (H.1703)/ An Act relative to the ownership of pets by convicted animal abusers (S.1076)

Sponsors: Representatives Tram T. Nguyen, Vanna Howard; Senator Michael O. Moore 

Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary extended the reporting deadline to 4/30/2024

Expands the prohibition on owning an animal to include all felony animal cruelty convictions, expanding on a 2018 law which required this following convictions of animal sexual abuse.  

Keeping Pets and People Together

Housing Protections

An Act to maintain stable housing for families with pets in an economic crisis and beyond (H.1367; S.876)

Sponsors: Representatives David M. Rogers; Samantha Montaño; Senator Anne M. Gobi 

Status: Reported favorably to the House Committee on Ways and Means (H.1367) and Senate Committee on Ways and Means (S.876)

Provides housing protections during states of emergency and immediately afterward, preventing animals from being used as a reason for eviction. Prohibits insurance companies from refusing coverage, canceling, or increasing rates on the basis of dog breed.

Human Service Organizations

An Act relative to animal welfare and DCF regulations (H.198)

Sponsors: Senator Adam Gomez, Representative Jack Patrick Lewis 

Status: Reported favorably to the House Committee on Ways and Means

Expands definition of “investigation” in DCF cases to allow for animal cruelty reporting during the entirety of the investigation. Would also remove prohibition on certain breeds in DCF homes.

Increasing Funding

An Act to provide additional funding for animal welfare and safety programming (S.533)

Sponsor: Senator Mark Montigny 

Status: Sent to study, language included in other bills

Would divert money from agricultural fines into the Homeless Animal Fund. Would also increase the mandate of the fund to allow for use for other animal health-type matters, including flea and tick prevention and large scale animal bond cases.

Keeping Animals Safe and Healthy

Circuses and Traveling Animal Acts

An Act Relative to the Use of Elephants, Big Cats, Primates, and Bears in Traveling Exhibits (H.3245;S.2197;S.2189)

Sponsors: Representatives Carole A. Fiola, Bradley H. Jones, Jr.; Senators Bruce Tarr, Adam Gomez 

Status: Reported favorably to the House Committee on Ways and Means

Would end the cruel use of these animals in circuses and other traveling exhibits.

Protecting Wildlife from Pesticides

An Act relative to pesticides (H.825; S.487)

Sponsors: Representative James Hawkins; Senator Paul R. Feeney  

Status: Hearing in Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on 5/10/2023, reported favorably to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (SGARs) are extremely dangerous to wildlife and pets. These bills would update requirements around pesticide use forms and require the increased use of Integrated Pest Management strategies in Massachusetts.

Fur Sales

An Act prohibiting the sale of fur products (H.849; S.590)

Sponsors: Representatives Jack Patrick Lewis, Josh S. Cutler; Senator John Velis 

Status: Sent to study

Bans the sale of new fur in Massachusetts.

ARL opposes the following bills:

Each session ARL opposes a number of bills that would expand hunting and trapping in the Commonwealth. Stay tuned for more information as the session goes on!


Each session a number of bills are filed that would erode the protections in place for wildlife in Massachusetts. ARL opposes any efforts to expand hunting in the Commonwealth, including permitting hunting on Sundays or allowing additional methods to be used for hunting.

An Act relative to outdoor heritage (H.920 Rep. David Vieira/ S.500 Senator Anne Gobi)

An Act authorizing deer hunting on Sunday (H.912 Rep. Alyson Sullivan)

An Act relative to Sunday hunting (H.877 Rep. Kelly Pease)

An Act authorizing the use of bow and arrows for Sunday hunting (H.800 Rep. Paul Frost)

An Act relative to hunting with artificial light (H.921 Rep. David Vieira)


ARL opposes efforts to repeal a ballot question passed almost 30 years ago, that would allow for use of inhumane traps for wildlife. These traps not only cause unnecessary pain to wildlife, they are also indiscriminate and can trap unsuspecting pets.

An Act conserving our natural resources (S.492 Sen. Anne Gobi)

An Act authorizing permitting by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (H.911 Rep. William Straus)

An Act relative to beavers (H.799 Rep. Paul Frost)

Status: All hunting and trapping bills opposed by ARL were sent to study this session.

View ARL's animal welfare policy and position statments

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