Thursday, October 10, 2013

The PAWS Act

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”  - Mahatma Gandhi

Like most people, I was horrified to learn of the tragic case of a two-year-old pit bull found in a Quincy park with extensive wounds that included burns on her face, lacerations scattered on her body, skull fractures, half starved, dislocated joints, and what may be worst of all, a split tongue to look like a serpent’s.  ‘Puppy Doe’, as she is commonly referred to, was tortured to an extent most of us cannot even fathom.

When Puppy Doe sought love, she received hate; when she sought compassion, she received cruelty; and when she sought comfort, she received pain.  The individual or individuals who perpetrated these crimes against her are nothing at all, if not monsters.  They are subhuman, incapable of accepting the unconditional love gifted from animal to person.

Sadly, as I type these words, monsters, such as the ones who cowardly abused ‘Puppy Doe’ relentlessly, continue to commit acts of cruelty.  Often times, our laws refer to animals as little more than property, but we are a great society, and our society does not accept this notion.  Dogs, cats, and other animals become a part of our families, and have become a significant presence that we share our homes and our lives with.

On Monday, October 7th, the Massachusetts Senate Republican Caucus filed “An Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety”, or the “PAWS Act”, to address our antiquated animal cruelty laws, some of which date as far back as the 19th and 20th centuries.  The PAWS Act increases the penalties both in terms of jail time and fines, but it also creates an animal abuse registry of those convicted of animal abuse crimes.  Furthermore, the registry would obligate animal shelters, pet stores, and registered breeders to crosscheck the names on the registry prior to an animal exchanging hands. 

Importantly, the registry would be accessible to private citizens by visiting law enforcement agencies, such as a municipality’s local police department, and empower private citizens who list animals in classified ads with the tools to combat against those who habitually troll Craigslist ads for further animal victims.

We are a great people, but we must not sit idly by.  We must stand together, speak in unison, and declare that these actions, these crimes against animals cannot and will not be tolerated in our communities.  At this moment the PAWS Act has 43 total sponsors.  I ask everyone to call their State Senator and State Representative and urge them to sign onto the PAWS Act.

On a parallel note, I want to thank everyone for the tremendous amount of support I have received regarding the filing of the PAWS Act.  People from Massachusetts and across the nation have been extremely supportive, and I thank you.