2021-2022 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.

Click here to learn how a bill becomes a law in Massachusetts.

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

An Act protecting the health and safety of puppies and kittens in cities and towns (

Sponsors: Senator Harriette Chandler; Representative Linda Dean Campbell

This bill would prohibit sales of puppies and kittens under 8-weeks-old, prohibit roadside sales, establish statewide regulations for kennels, and clarify that dogs and cats are not livestock.

An Act to regulate pet daycare facilities in cities and towns, aka Ollie’s Law (HD.3356)

Sponsor: Representative Brian Ashe

Filed after the tragic death of labradoodle Ollie at a daycare facility, this bill would require regulations of facilities that provide dog daycare and boarding.

Similar bills:
An Act protecting dogs at boarding kennels and daycare facilities (SD.865) Senator Patrick O’Connor
An Act protecting dogs at boarding kennels and daycare facilities (HD.1209)Representative Hannah Kane

An Act banning the retail sale of cats and dogs in pet shops(HD.929/SD.848)

Sponsors: Representative Natalie Higgins; Senator Patrick O’Connor

Would prohibit the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet shops throughout Massachusetts. Would not prohibit pet shops from partnering with shelters or rescues (like ARL) to display/facilitate adoptions.

Increasing Awareness and Action

An Act enhancing the issuance of citations for cruel conditions for animals (

Sponsors: Senator Mark Montigny; Representative Angelo Puppolo

Initially filed after the 2016 Westport case, this bill would define cruel conditions and appropriate shelter for most animals. It also creates a civil citation, allowing intervention before cruelty rises to the level of felony charges.

An Act relative to improving enforcement for tethering violations (SD.1673)

Sponsor: Senator Mark Montigny

Would update current tethering statute to provide clearer standards for dog tethering and better protect dogs from inclement weather.

An Act prohibiting inhumane feline declawing (SD.1433)

Sponsor: Senator Mark Montigny

Prohibits declaw of animals, except for the animal’s medical needs.

An Act to Protect Animals from Convicted Animal Abusers (HD.2845)/An Act relative to the ownership of pets by convicted animal abusers (SD.796)

Sponsors: Representative Tram T. Nguyen, Representative Bradford Hill; Senator Michael Moore

Expands the prohibition on owning or working with an animal to include all felony animal cruelty convictions.

Keeping Pets and People Together

An Act to maintain stable housing for families with pets in an economic crisis and beyond (

Sponsors: Senator Anne Gobi; Representative David Rogers

Prohibits evictions on the presence of a pet through COVID-19 crisis and for a short time after. Prohibits landlords from refusing rental on the basis of dog breed, as well as prohibits insurance companies from refusing coverage, canceling, or increasing rates on the basis of dog breed.

An Act to provide additional funding for animal welfare and safety programming (SD.1544)

Sponsor: Senator Mark Montigny

Would take money from certain agricultural and animal welfare fines to put into Homeless Animal Fund, which funds low cost spay/neuter across the commonwealth.

Keeping Animals Safe and Healthy

An Act relative to the use of elephants, big cats, primates, giraffes, and bears in traveling exhibits and shows (

Sponsors: Representative Lori Ehrlich, Representative Bradley Jones; Senator Bruce Tarr, Senator Adam Gomez

Prohibits use of such animals in traveling acts in Massachusetts.

An Act Further Regulating the Enforcement of Illegal Hunting Practices (SD.551/HD.1458)

Sponsors: Senator Michael Moore; Representative Lori Ehrlich

This bill would update hunting penalties and would enter Massachusetts into nationwide wildlife compact regarding hunting violations, only Mass. and Hawaii are not member states.

An Act allowing humane transportation of K9 partners aka Nero’s law (SD.1177)/An Act providing for the care and transportation of police dogs injured in the line of duty (Nero’s Law) (HD.326)

Sponsors: Senator Mark Montigny; Representative Steven Xiarhos

Filed in response to the tragic shooting of Sgt. Sean Gannon and his K9 Nero, this bill would allow ambulances to transport K9s injured in the line of duty.

Click here to view ARL's animal welfare policy and position statments

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