House Bill 3692 - Animal Cruelty

An Act Relative to Animal Cruelty

House Bill 3692
Sponsor: Rep. Louis Kafka
 
What would this bill do? This bill would increase the penalties for certain type of animal abuse.  Specifically, in chapter 272 section 77 of the Massachusetts General Laws, it increases the penalties for the “worst” type of animal cruelty — such as torturing or mutilating and increases the fines from $2,500 to $25,000 and from a maximum of 5 years in prison to a maximum of 10 years. Read the text of the bill.

Why is this bill needed? The last time the penalties were updated was almost a decade ago — in 2004.  And at that time, the increase was less than was originally sought. Massachusetts has been a leader in addressing animal cruelty and enacting strong laws to protect animals. It is important we remain on the forefront of animal protection and ensure that our laws reflect our values as a community.

In August 2013, a badly abused puppy was found abandoned in a park in Quincy, MA. The Quincy Animal Shelter brought her to a local veterinary hospital where it was determined that her injuries were so severe she had no chance of resuming a normal or pain-free life. The veterinarian who examined the dog, dubbed “Puppy Doe,” was alarmed by the dog’s injuries and called the Animal Rescue League of Boston to investigate. A necropsy revealed that the dog was systematically tortured over several months. Her alleged abuser has been charged. The details of this case galvanized people who care about animals to ensure both that Puppy Doe’s abuser −and others who engage in such cruel acts−will be penalized in a way that is sufficient for the crime and that these acts will be prevented from happening in the first place.

Additionally, there is a critical link between domestic violence and cruelty to animals. Research has shown consistent patterns of animal cruelty among perpetrators of other forms of violence, including child abuse, spousal abuse, and elder abuse. It’s in everyone’s best interest to address animal abuse as the serious crime it is.

What you can do: Massachusetts residents can contact their state representative and state senator (find out who at www.wheredoivotema.com) and ask them to co-sponsor the bill if they have not already (see list below). There will be a public hearing, so visit the state’s website (www.malegislature.gov), the MSPCA’s website (www.mspca.org/advocacy or www.mspca.org/jointheteam) or Rep. Kafka’s website http://www.reploukafka.org to watch for a hearing date.

Co-sponsors:
Reps. Jones, Reinstein, Gifford, Walsh, M, Atkins, Chan, Kocot, Kulik, Puppolo, Garry, Benson, Rogers, Coakley-Rivera, Durant, Honan, Canavan, Campbell, Ehrlich, Malia, Madden, Walsh, D’Emilia, Howitt, Dizoglio, Ashe, Cronin, Scibak, Poirier, Barrows, Winslow, Gobi, Heroux, Timilty, Dwyer, Curran, Lewis, Vega, Fernandes, Koczera, Toomey. (as of 9/25/13; more legislators are likely to have signed on since printing)