New State Laws Protect Companion Animals
BSL stands for Breed Specific Legislation. In essence it is dog "racism," judging any dog by its physical characteristics regardless of temperament and therefore deeming it dangerous. And guess what dog is most frequently the target of BSL - you got it, pit bull types! Due to an undeserved reputation and the sad fate of falling into the wrong hands, these dogs have been banned in some cities and states dogs from living within their borders. Responsible pet owners have had their dogs' licenses revoked and their dogs euthanized thanks to the BSL. But never again will they be threatened in Massachusetts! On Oct 31st, Gov. Deval Patrick signed "An Act Further Regulating Animal Control."
This bill will help animals in more ways than one. Beside banning BSL, animal shelters, rescues, homeless pets and pet owners will be aided by:
- Setting up a Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund to help cover veterinary care and spay/neuter for homeless dogs and cats to reduce their numbers and reduce costs for cities, in addition to assisting low-income pet owners with vaccinations and spay/neuter. Residents will be able to voluntarily donate to the fund through their state tax returns.
- Including pets in restraining orders to protect both people and animals from domestic violence and encourage victims of abuse to seek help without having to worry about what will happen if they leave a pet behind.
- Banning euthanasia via gas chambers.
- Requiring training for animal control officers (ACO), which has not been mandatory, and ensuring they are not also licensed animal dealers who could potentially turn over animals to research facilities. ACOs will be overseen by the Department of Agricultural Resources and will be trained in a number of areas ranging from animal capture techniques and cruelty statutes to animal health inspector duties.
- Improving the dangerous dog law to prohibit discrimination against any breed (Breed Specific Legislation)
- Increasing fines for animal cruelty.
- Adding provisions to enforce the spay/neuter deposit law for adopted animals to ensure they can’t reproduce by requiring a written agreement and increasing the deposit, which is collected if animals are adopted out without being spayed/neutered.