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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 (
S.1322/H.3979)

Sponsors: Senator Harriette Chandler; Representative Linda Dean Campbell

Current StatusAwaiting hearing in Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government

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 (H.305)

Sponsor: Representative Brian Ashe

Current Status: Awaiting hearing in Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure

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 (S.595) Senator Patrick O’Connor
An Act protecting dogs at boarding kennels and daycare facilities (H.949)Representative Hannah Kane


An Act banning the retail sale of cats and dogs in pet shops(H.384/S.230)

Sponsors: Representative Natalie Higgins; Senator Patrick O’Connor

Current Status: Awaiting hearing in Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure

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 (
S.1097/H.1840)

Sponsors: Senator Mark Montigny; Representative Angelo Puppolo

Current Status: Awaiting hearing in Joint Committee on the Judiciary

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 (S.1099)

Sponsor: Senator Mark Montigny

Current Status: Awaiting hearing in Joint Committee on the Judiciary

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 (S.222)

Sponsor: Senator Mark Montigny

Current Status: Awaiting hearing in Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure

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


An Act to Protect Animals from Convicted Animal Abusers (H.1824)/An Act relative to the ownership of pets by convicted animal abusers (S.1111)

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

Current Status: Awaiting hearing in Joint Committee on the Judiciary

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 (
S.885/H.1437)

Sponsors: Senator Anne Gobi; Representative David Rogers

Current Status: Awaiting hearing in Joint Committee on Housing

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 (S.583)

Sponsor: Senator Mark Montigny

Current Status: Awaiting hearing in Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture

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 (
H.3376/S.2251)

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

Current Status: Awaiting hearing in Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development

Prohibits use of such animals in traveling acts in Massachusetts.


An Act Further Regulating the Enforcement of Illegal Hunting Practices (S.587/H.904)

Sponsors: Senator Michael Moore; Representative Lori Ehrlich

Current Status: Awaiting hearing in Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture

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 (S.1606)/An Act providing for the care and transportation of police dogs injured in the line of duty (Nero’s Law) (H.2547)

Sponsors: Senator Mark Montigny; Representative Steven Xiarhos

Current Status: Awaiting hearing in Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security

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.


ARL opposes the following bills:

An Act relative to outdoor heritage (H.1023/S.457); An Act authorizing deer hunting on Sunday (H.1019); An Act relative to Sunday hunting (H.984); An Act authorizing the use of bow and arrows for Sunday hunting (H.1015)/(H.914)

Sponsors: Representative David Vieira; Senator Anne Gobi; Representative Alyson Sullivan; Representative Kelly Pease; Representative Straus; Representative Paul Frost

These bills would expand hunting by allowing hunting on Sundays, increasing the methods available to hunters, and weakening existing hunting laws.


An Act conserving our natural resources (S.554)/(H.1022); An Act authorizing permitting by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (H.1016); An Act relative to beavers (H.913)

Sponsors: Senator Anne Gobi; Representative David Vieira; Representative William Straus; Representative Paul Frost

These bills would roll back protections for wildlife and companion animals from inhumane traps approved by an overwhelming majority of voters in the 1990’s.

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

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