November 18, 2013
The first year of the 2-year Massachusetts legislative session has ended with good news to report.
S. 1172, sponsored by Senator Spilka, would protect pets in disasters. It has passed the Senate and is now pending in House Ways and Means.
H. 3571, sponsored by Representative Lewis, would stop the market for shark fins to help end this cruel practice. It just received a favorable report from the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee.
S. 969 was the bill filed to repeal some parts of last year’s animal control bill to allow breed-discriminatory ordinances in municipalities was sent to a “study committee” meaning it will not advance.
Last week, H. 3762, a revised version of 3 bills (filed by Rep. Reinstein, Senator Spilka and Rep. Coakley-Rivera) that were pending in the Municipalities and Regional Government Committee was released with a favorable report. This bill would provide better remedy options for people who sell dogs or cats who have health problems, prevent the sale of puppies or kittens under 8 weeks, and require the regulation of breeders who keep at least 6 intact females between 1 and 8 years of age.
Animal shelters and rescue groups testified in September on proposed regulations regarding all aspects of sheltering. We continue to work to advocate for changes that would be less harmful to animal shelters and the animals we serve, while still protecting public and animal health.
Also receiving favorable reports from joint committees are S. 942, would require owners of rented properties to check them for abandoned animals within 3 days after tenants move out; if abandoned animals are found, owners must report to the animal control officer or other authorities (sponsored by Senator Eldridge) and S. 1948 (formerly S.381, sponsored by Senator M. Moore) would increase penalties for illegal hunting.
Many good animal bills still remain in their joint committees with animal advocates pushing for them to move. And, at least one animal bill, the one that would ban the bullhook on traveling elephants, has yet to have a hearing. We expect that early next year. Fortunately, bills that would be harmful to animals, including expanded trapping and hunting, have not advanced yet – though we do expect some action and we will all need to be vigilant to make sure we don’t move backward!
A few bills that were filed late (after the filing deadline in January) have yet to receive a hearing but should soon. Legislation that addresses animal cruelty, filed in the wake of the “Puppy Doe” case will have a hearing next year.
Please save the date for Lobby Day for Animals 2014! It will be held on March 18, 2014. We will post more information soon.