An Act Further Regulating Municipal Animal Control
Signed by the Governor on August 2, 2012. The law took effect 90 days after it was signed, Oct. 31, 2012. Read the law here.
Summary of the new law:
The law creates some statewide oversight for animal control, which previously did not exist in Massachusetts; create categories for kennel licensing; create consistency in the holding time for stray dogs and provide other meaningful updates to the state's antiquated animal control laws. A House amendment added some restrictions on the tethering of dogs (Ch 140 sec. 174E).
Why were these changes needed?
Many of the laws that govern animal control date back to the 1800s. Quite simply, the laws did not address the current state of animal control in our municipalities, which are no longer based on the county system. The fines are outdated, as is the term “dog officer”; “animal control officer” more accurately describes the role fulfilled. These proposed changes were made to Chapter 140, sections 136A through 174D to update and make the animal control laws more efficient, current and effective. They will also save cities and towns money. At the beginning of every legislative session, many bills are filed to address a section or issue relating to animal control. For years, organizations, individuals, and legislators have been seeking a more comprehensive revision; this law is the result of stakeholder meetings since 2005 to rework the sections in Chapter 140 relating to animals.
The Animal Control Officers Association of Massachusetts (ACOAM), the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the state’s Bureau of Animal Health within the Department of Agricultural Resources and the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) worked together to draft these changes.
Sponsor: Senator Jehlen