On Thursday, Governor Deval Patrick signed “An Act Further Regulating Animal Control” into law, which will update laws that have been on the books for decades and create stronger, more comprehensive animal protection laws in a variety of areas.

“For years, organizations, individuals, and legislators have been seeking a comprehensive revision of Chapter 140, relating to animals; S. 2192 is the result of years of stakeholder discussions,” said Kara Holmquist, Director of Advocacy, MSPCA-Angell. “We are thrilled to see this important bill become law and believe it will make important progress in safeguarding both animals and the public.”

Provisions in this bill will help animals in a few ways, most notably by:

*Setting up a Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund to help cover veterinary care and spay/neuter for homeless dogs and cats to reduce their numbers and reduce costs for cities, in addition to assisting low-income pet owners with vaccinations and spay/neuter. Residents will be able to voluntarily donate to the fund through their state tax returns.

*Including pets in restraining orders to protect both people and animals from domestic violence and encourage victims of abuse to seek help without having to worry about what will happen if they leave a pet behind.

*Banning euthanasia via gas chambers.

*Creating categories for kennel licensing ranging from residential to commercial.

*Requiring health certificates for dogs and cats coming into the state.

*Requiring training for animal control officers (ACO), which has not been mandatory, and ensuring they are not also licensed animal dealers who could potentially turn over animals to research facilities. ACOs will be overseen by the Department of Agricultural Resources and will be trained in a number of areas ranging from animal capture techniques and cruelty statutes to animal health inspector duties.

*Improving the dangerous dog law to prohibit discrimination against any breed.

*Increasing fines for animal cruelty.

*Adding provisions to enforce the spay/neuter deposit law for adopted animals to ensure they can’t reproduce by requiring a written agreement and increasing the deposit, which is collected if animals are adopted out without being spayed/neutered.

While it’s unclear what will happen in cities that have breed bans in place as of now, some may try to keep them by grandfathering themselves in or using the home rule, it’s still great to see another state take a stand against BSL.

“The breed-specific things is a quick reaction to a complex problem,” said Sen. Mark C.W. Montigny, a champion of the legislation. “What we really need is a major crackdown on the people who are breeding (pit bulls) and training them to be aggressive.

“They are beautiful, loving dogs if not mistreated by ugly, mean human beings,” he said, adding that the ban on BSL will also remove any incentive evildoers have from targeting another breed.

Along with the MSPCA-Angell, this legislation was also supported by the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the Department of Agricultural Resources, the Animal Control Officers Association of Massachusetts (ACOAM) and the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association.

Responses to "Victory! Massachusetts Bans BSL, Overhauls Animal Protection Laws"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Massachusetts - Ya done good! I hope this brings about changes in other states' laws and changes in thinking too.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Pet welfare. Frightening.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What's frightening is the dogs have no choice but to put up with stupid humans. Its about time someone stands up for them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Rockin' news makes me want to move back to Massachusetts

  5. Anonymous says:

    As a long time rescue dog mommy, I'm happy to see this law come into affect. I know that my two son's who are dog daddies are happy about this too. I hate seeing any animal suffer. Ruby from WV

  6. Anonymous says:

    My son's live in MA. Matt rescued his dog when no one else would. she was elderly and won over cancer. She'd been in a shelter for a year, when Matt saw her and it was love at first sight. I loved her too. Last month she died. We miss her very much. Matt has a Service dog named Rudy, who has helped him very much since he came from Iraq injured. Rudy is a great dog and we have a huge amount of love for him. My other son Sam and wife who live in MA have a rescue dog named Tennessee. Sam and Rebecca love Tennessee and have given him a wonderful home. I hope all unwanted dogs become someones wanted dog. Ruby from WV

  7. Anonymous says:

    Nowhere in this article was the term "BSL" defined.

  8. Anonymous says:

    BSL - Breed specific legislation

  9. Anonymous says:

    Are there any regulations on dog trainers? Someone I know just started a dog training business called "Pawsitive Forces" although she trained her dogs using shock collars. Doesn't seem too positive to me.

  10. Anonymous says:


  11. Anonymous says:

    YAHOO! Also, to the person who mentioned "shock collars". They can be a very good training tool if used properly and not abused. I have three dogs, two are rescues, one is a pit bull that was used for breeding continuously. She was taught some bad manners but was still a good dog. A shock collar and some TLC went a long way to bring out the sweetheart that she is now. She even loves my two cats! She didnt want to fight or be mean. She just wanted to be loved and play. My other two dogs taught her how to play. Now she has friends at the park that she plays with. Its NOT the dog, its the owners who are bad or inexperienced. Not all people can have big dogs. People and dogs need to "fit" together. Just because someone "wants" a certain type of dog, doesnt mean that its the type of dog that they "should" have! People need to keep this in mind when getting a pet/dog. And others who dont have or like dogs need to remember that dogs are human too! If you throw hot coffee at it, it WILL bite you! Just like I would :) So be smart and dont be an ass, be friendly no matter if you like dogs or not. People would behave the same way. So dont blame the dogs!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Lowell has an ordinance that was put in place Jan 2011 that requires all pitbulls to be muzzled there while in public and crated while in vehicles! I hope this new law now abolishes that ordinance there! my pitbull hates muzzles! ty Gov Patrick!

  13. Anonymous says:

    @ Anonymous in Lowell... my thoughts exactly! I also wonder if S2192 will reduce extra licencing fees for owners of pit bulls (ect). I pay less for my two labs then my neighbor who has one pit bull, and I agree that's not fair. They also have to muzzle their dog which is unnecessary. -Kathleen

  14. Anonymous says:

    Kudos to you folks and I hope other states including my home of SC will take up this cause and enact similar rulings in the quest for more humane and fair treatment of our four legged friends

  15. Anonymous says:

    As the mother of a rescue from Tennesse I am sooo happy someone finally thinks of animals the way we animal lovers do!! My Yankee says thank you Deval Patrick for caring about our furry children!!

  16. Unknown says:

    Yeaaa! Its about time! Come on all other states and the whole world! Lets pass this law world wide! PPPLLLEEEAAASSSEEE!!!!

  17. deb spanhake says:

    EXCELLENT NEWS we are on the move in right direction for the animals!!!

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