Among the new law’s many provisions:
- Removal of breed-specific language from the state’s “dangerous dog” laws
- Ending the use of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide gas to kill shelter dogs and cats
- Prohibiting anyone convicted of animal cruelty from working with animals in commercial boarding, training, shelter, pet shop and grooming service facilities
- Making it illegal to chain a dog to a stationary object for more than 24 hours
- Allowing victims of domestic violence to include their pets in restraining orders
- Providing a statewide spaying and neutering program for homeless pets
- Providing training for animal control officers (currently there are no training requirements)
“From our point of view, from an animal control perspective, we cannot be happier,” Pam Peebles, director of the Thomas J. O’Connor Adoption Center in Springfield, Mass., told WGGB. “This will make immediate positive impacts on animals, animal control officers, and people and municipalities.”
A Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund will be created to pay for some of the new law’s provisions. Money will be provided via a voluntary donation check-box on state income tax returns, along with donated gifts and grants.
The bill was developed by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and several other animal-welfare organizations.
“The current laws are out of date,” Sen. Pat Jehlen, sponsor of the bill’s Senate version, told The Sun Chronicle. “This bill will help municipalities deal with the problems they face today. Furthermore, it manages to modernize and improve animal control without raising fees or taxes.”
At the signing ceremony, Ashland Animal Control Officer Cheryl Rudolph told The MetroWest Daily News, “These laws take us from the 19th century to the 21st century. It makes it easier for us to enforce what we do.”
On August 14, voters in Florida will have the opportunity to abolish Miami-Dade County’s 23-year-old ban on Pit Bulls.
PHOTO: Jocelyn Augustino