2018 Legislative Agenda

In January, the Massachusetts General Court began its 2018 session. The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) will continue to support legislation that enhances and improves protections for animals, and to oppose reforms that endanger the welfare of animals in Massachusetts. ARL will keep you updated on the status of legislation impacting animal welfare in Massachusetts. As always, please check this page, Facebook, Twitter, and email alerts as different pieces of legislation progress through the General Court.

Below is a list of the bills that we support and oppose:


S.406– An Act protecting dogs at boarding kennels and daycare facilities | This bill would require regulations for the operation or maintenance of boarding facilities.

Sponsor: Senator Chandler
Status: S. 406 reported favorably out of the Committee on Environmental, Natural Resources and Agriculture (S. 406 also carries S. 461, an Act requiring the supervision of animals at day care services, sponsored by Senator Montigny)

S.2187 (S. 1127, H. 2426)– An Act protecting abandoned animals in vacant properties | These bills would require property owners of rented or foreclosed properties to inspect their properties for abandoned animals within 3 days after property is vacated or is believed to be vacated. If abandoned animals are found, they must be reported to animal control officers or enforcement authorities.

Sponsors: Senator Eldridge, Representative Rogers
Status: S. 2187 in Senate Committee on Ways & Means. S. 2187 carries S. 1127 and H. 2426 | S. 1127 (Senator Eldridge) would require that within 3 days after a lessor or owner of property knew or should have known that property was vacated, the owner or lessor must inspect the property for abandoned animals. | H. 2426 (Representative Rogers) would require that lessors or owners of property must notify an animal control officer or the police if an abandoned animal is found in or on vacated property.

S.2248 (S. 464, S. 2182, H. 2918, H. 3021)– An Act to extend poaching regulations | This bill would bring penalties in alignment with other states by elevating fines, increasing jail time, and imposing hunting and fishing license suspensions.

Sponsors: Senator Moore, Representative Ferrante, Representative Atkins | S. 464, S. 2182 (Sponsor: Senator Moore) | H. 2918 (Sponsor: Representative Ferrante) | H. 3021 (Sponsor: Representative Atkins)
Status: Passed in the Senate; in House Committee on Ways and Means

S.2285 – An Act enhancing the issuance of citations for cruel conditions for animals | This bill would allow law enforcement to issue citations for animals. The statute is currently limited to dogs. Expanding the scope of the current law would allow a quick response to situations involving other animals and prevent animals from being subjected to unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

Sponsor: Senator Montigny
Status: Senate Ways and Means

S.2331– An Act relating to puppies and kittens | This bill contains many provisions to protect puppies and kittens, such as preventing the sale of dogs or cats under 8 weeks of age.

Sponsor: Senator Spilka, Senator Patrick O’Connor
Status: Passed in the Senate

S.2332– An Act to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns (PAWS II) | These bills would update provisions affecting animals in Massachusetts. The bills would strengthen anticruelty laws to increase reporting, update penalties, and prohibit acts, such as the drowning of animals. Formerly S. 1159, H. 2419.

Sponsors: Senator Montigny, Senator Tarr, Representative Kafka
Status: Passed in the Senate

H.418An Act relative to the use of elephants in traveling animal acts | This bill would prohibit the use of elephants in traveling performance acts.

Sponsor: Representative Lori Ehrlich
Status: House Committee on Ways and Means
418 carries S. 1898 (Sponsor: Senator O’Connor Ives)

H.4270– An Act to study the health of the Blue Hills Forest and ecology to inform long-term reservation management | This bill would require the conduct of an independent scientific study and survey of the forest, wildlife, and environmental health of the Blue Hills Reservation.

Sponsor: Representative Driscoll
Status: House Committee on Ways and Means



S.433– An Act expanding the powers of the director of Fisheries and Wildlife | This bill would give the director of the Fisheries and Wildlife the power to authorize an open season for the hunting of deer by bow and arrow on any date, including a Sunday or legal holiday.

Sponsor: Senator Gobi
Status: S. 433 reported favorably out of Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. S. 433 carries H. 420, H. 469, and S. 445. | S. 420 (Sponsor: Representative Frost) would allow people to control or manage wildlife from Monday through Sunday. | S. 469 (Sponsor: Representative Straus) would allow people to hunt mammals or birds with a bow and arrow on Sundays. | S. 445 (Sponsor: Senator Humason) would allow people to hunt on Sunday

S.437– An Act relative to outdoor heritage | This bill amends various provisions relative to hunting of wildlife.

Sponsor: Senator Gobi
Status: Reported favorably by Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture

H.421– An Act relative to beavers | This bill would lift the restriction on the use of any trap, including steel jaw leg hold traps, padded leg hold traps, and snares, for the purpose of capturing fur-bearing animals.

Sponsor: Representative Frost
Status: Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture (study order)

H.442 – An Act conserving our natural resources | This bill would prohibit a person to use, set, place, or maintain any trap for the purpose of capturing furbearing mammals, except for common mouse or rat traps and describes any other traps that are prohibited from being used for trapping furbearing mammals.

Sponsor: Representative Kulik
Status: Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture (study order)

H.456 – An Act concerning the trapping of fur-bearing mammals | This bill would provide that any person licensed to trap fur-bearing mammals must follow the Best Management Practices guidelines and will be allowed to possess equipment recommended under those guidelines.

Sponsor: Representative Nagle
Status: Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture (study order)

H.470 – An Act authorizing permitting by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game | This bill would allow someone to trap and capture a furbearing mammal using nets, box or cage traps, or quick kill traps.

Sponsor: Representative Straus
Status: Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture (study order)

H.3212 – An Act to protect pets in the Commonwealth | This bill would be harmful to animals. It would remove important provisions to protect animals, and it contains a provision that would prevent cities and towns from enacting their own ordinances and would repeal current ordinances.

Sponsor: Representative Cusack
Status: House Committee on Ways and Means

H.3563 – An Act relative to the control of furbearing mammals | This bill would prohibit the use, setting, placing, or maintaining of traps for the capture of furbearing mammals, except for common mouse and rat traps, nets, or box or cage traps.

Sponsor: Representative Dykema
Status: Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture (study order)

H.4050 (H. 441) – An Act to promote the care and well-being of livestock | The care and well-being of livestock would be threatened by this bill. It would establish a 13-member board to ensure humane keeping and treatment of livestock, including the financial viability of farms and related businesses involved in the rearing and keeping of livestock.

Sponsor: Representative Kulik
Status: House Committee on Ways and Means


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