Victory! Massachusetts Bans BSL, Overhauls Animal Protection Laws

On Thursday, Governor Deval Patrick signed “An Act Further Regulating Animal Control” into law, which will update laws that have been on the books for decades and create stronger, more comprehensive animal protection laws in a variety of areas.

“For years, organizations, individuals, and legislators have been seeking a comprehensive revision of Chapter 140, relating to animals; S. 2192 is the result of years of stakeholder discussions,” said Kara Holmquist, Director of Advocacy, MSPCA-Angell. “We are thrilled to see this important bill become law and believe it will make important progress in safeguarding both animals and the public.”

Provisions in this bill will help animals in a few ways, most notably 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.
  • Creating categories for kennel licensing ranging from residential to commercial.
  • Requiring health certificates for dogs and cats coming into the state.
  • 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.
  • 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.

While it’s unclear what will happen in cities that have breed bans in place as of now, some may try to keep them by grandfathering themselves in or using the home rule, it’s still great to see another state take a stand against BSL.

“The breed-specific things is a quick reaction to a complex problem,” said Sen. Mark C.W. Montigny, a champion of the legislation. “What we really need is a major crackdown on the people who are breeding (pit bulls) and training them to be aggressive.

“They are beautiful, loving dogs if not mistreated by ugly, mean human beings,” he said, adding that the ban on BSL will also remove any incentive evildoers have from targeting another breed.

Along with the MSPCA-Angell, this legislation was also supported by the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the Department of Agricultural Resources, the Animal Control Officers Association of Massachusetts (ACOAM) and the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association.

Related Stories:

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Pit Bulls Saved by $1 Million Grant from PetSmart Charities

In Memory of Lennox, Dog Put to Death for Resembling a Pit Bull

Photo credit: sparktography


Sheri Schongold
Sheri Schongold4 years ago

Thank you MA.

PrimaAWAY B.
PrimaAWAY B4 years ago

This post is a year old. It was good news. I hoped they lived up to it.

Denis L.
Denis L.4 years ago

Not only as a pet lover but also as a member of Accident Injury Lawyers I support this. I think pet has also right to live and government should take strong strong action against them who misbehave with their pet.

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Edvanir L.
Edvanir L4 years ago

I sooooo happy for the dogs right now!! A victory like this lets us see that all the fight is worthy!!

Thank you so much for everyone who fought for it in MA, and all elected officials who understood the relevance of these animals in our lives!!

Marilyn A.
Marilyn A.5 years ago

It's not breeders. It's the vicious, cruel owners. No professional trainer teaches dogs to fight and kill. Stupid owners do that. Felons do that . Psychopaths do that.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson5 years ago


Marilyn A.
Marilyn A.5 years ago

The process of continuing to make adoption of dogs and cats more and more expensive is well intentioned. It is also self defeating. I gave up, after a while, because it was far less expensive to wait until someone I knew had a spare dog and wanted to give her to me. And five years until you can own another dog after being convicted of animal cruelty? Really? How about NEVER.

How about banning pet shops from selling puppies? That would actually do some good.

Jules W.
Jules W5 years ago

Great news, thanks for sharing !!!!

Stella Nobrega-Garcia

Great news! Thanks for posting!