MSPCA-Angell Headquarters

350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
(617) 522-7400
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Angell Animal Medical Centers – Boston

350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
(617) 522-7282
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Angell West

293 Second Avenue, Waltham, MA 02451
(781) 902-8400
For on-site assistance (check-ins and pick-ups):
(339) 970-0790
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Angell at Essex

565 Maple Street, Danvers, MA 01923
(978) 304-4648
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Animal Care and Adoption Centers – Boston

350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
(617) 522-5055
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Animal Care and Adoption Centers – Cape Cod

1577 Falmouth Road, Centerville, MA 02632
(508) 775-0940
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Animal Care and Adoption Centers – Nevins Farm

400 Broadway, Methuen, MA 01844
(978) 687-7453
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Animal Care and Adoption Centers – Northeast Animal Shelter

347 Highland Ave., Salem, MA 01970
(978) 745-9888
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Local Ordinances and Bylaws

Please Read! If you are undertaking an effort to pass a municipal law to protect animals, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. When writing bylaws and ordinances, it’s important to use the most current recommended language. Older bylaw language may no longer be considered the gold standard, and other cities and towns will look to yours as a template. We want to help you craft the strongest animal protection bylaw or ordinance possible! Please email us at advocacy (at)

Why act locally?
Changing the laws relating to animals is something that can happen on a local level, impacting your city or town. In fact, many laws relating to animals are local in nature. Leash laws, dangerous dog laws, and other animal control matters are often under the authority of local government.

Passing a local ordinance or bylaw may be less complicated and timely than trying to pass a statewide law. While local ordinances or bylaws would only impact animals in a city or town, their reach is often far greater. Local ordinances provide a model for other cities and towns to follow and local legislation can gain enough momentum to bring the issue to the state level. The no smoking ordinances in Massachusetts are a great example; the ordinance caught on in municipalities and is now a state law.

In Massachusetts, we have several examples of local ordinances that relate to animal protection:

  • Fifteen cities and towns have passed restrictions on the use of exotic animals in traveling shows and exhibits: Amherst, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Northampton, Mendon, Quincy, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Provincetown, Revere, Somerville, Topsfield, Weymouth, and Wilmington.
  • Fourteen Massachusetts municipalities have banned the sale of certain animals unless they are from a shelter or rescue: Attleboro, Boston,* Brookline, Cambridge, Holliston, Lenox, Lexington, Marshfield, North Adams, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Springfield, North Andover, and Stoneham. Brookline’s bylaw sets the bar high, with a ban on the retail sale of all mammals and all birds. Cambridge’s landmark ordinance is even more inclusive still, covering mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids. See also the hundreds of local ordinances passed across the country on this issue.
  • Seven municipalities have passed measures banning the retail sale of fur: Wellesley, Weston, Brookline, Plymouth, Lexington, Attleboro, and Cambridge.
  • Advocates in many municipalities are working to restrict the use of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs). So far, Arlington has passed a measure to prohibit the use on town property and both Newton and Arlington have home rule petitions (needed to make this happen to work around a state law) pending in the state legislature to allow additional restrictions. Check out MassAudubon’s toolkit on how to work on this in your municipality.
  • Prior to the state bill that restricted dog tethering, six cities and towns (Amherst, Easthampton, East Longmeadow, Greenfield, Milton, and Provincetown) had bylaws that restricted tethering.
  • Pittsfield has an ordinance that requires farm animals to have enough room to stand up, lie down, turn around, and extend their limbs (passed prior to the statewide ballot question).
  • Cambridge has an ordinance that requires the city manager to appoint a Commissioner of Laboratory Animals (CLA) for the purpose of overseeing the care and use of laboratory animals in the city.
  • Everett passed an ordinance requiring pest control companies and problem animal control agents to check roof traps for squirrels and raccoons every 6 hours from June 1 through September 30, i.e., during the heat of the summer.
  • Provincetown passed a non-binding resolution to adopt low-noise fireworks.

*Boston City Council is considering adding guinea pigs to the ordinance.

Additional Resources



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