Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Protect Animal Welfare and Safety

Supporters of humane treatment for animals were gathered at the State House today to lobby on behalf of a bill that I filed that will add important protections for humans and animals alike. The PAWS II bill builds on the strength of the original PAWS law that I filed following the now infamous Puppy Doe case that involved violence and cruelty so vile it resulted in the dog having to be destroyed.

Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety or PAWS II will ensure that abuse is reported and enforced, that animal drownings are outlawed, and that our animal control laws reflect the seriousness of animal torture and abuse.

In addition to lessening animal cruelty there could be a corresponding reduction of crimes against people. A recent Massachusetts study found that a person who has committed animal abuse is five times more likely to commit violence against people.

The Senate has already approved this bill and I appreciate their support because animals deserve humane treatment and protections from those who would abuse them.

Senate Bill 1159, an act to Protect Animal Welfare and Safety in Cities and Towns include these vital components:
• Ensure abuse is reported
Requires animal abuse be reported by Department of Children and Families, the Department of Elder Affairs, and Disabled Persons Protection Commission. Adds animal control officers as mandatory reporters of child abuse, elder abuse, and abuse against disabled persons.
• Ensures efficient enforcement of animal control laws
Increases penalties in animal control laws that provide non-criminal penalties for. Doubles the existing penalty of a $50 fine for a second offence to $100, and increased the $100 penalty for a forth offence to $500.
• Prohibit the drowning of wild and domestic animals
Declares that drowning of animals as a violation of law.
• Prohibits engaging in sexual contact with an animal
• Removes automatic killing of animals involved in animal fighting
Remove a requirement to automatically kill animals involved in animal fighting. This bill creates other options for these animal victims.
• Adds animal crimes to the list of offenses that serve as the basis for a request for a determination of detention and or release upon conditions Include the crimes of animal cruelty to serve as the basis for a request for a determination of detention and or release upon conditions.
• Prohibits discrimination against specific dog breeds
Prohibit insurance companies and housing authorities to refuse insurance coverage or housing with breed restrictions.
• Require abandoned animal checks in vacant properties.