Law Safeguarding Pets from Cruel Conditions Now in Effect

Law Enforcement officers or citizens can now smash a window to rescue a pet

A week has passed since the landslide passage of Question 3—the ballot measure mandating that battery hens, pigs and calves be housed in ways that allow them to stand up, turn around and fully extend their limbs—and an array of additional animal protections, signed into law this past August by Governor Charlie Baker, are set to take effect today according to a statement from the MSPCA.

“An Act Preventing Animal Suffering and Death” prohibits the tethering of dogs outside between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. as well as in times when weather advisories have been issued or when extreme conditions such as cold, snow or hail pose an adverse risk to the health or safety of dogs. 

The new law also enables cruelty investigators from the MSPCA-Angell and the Animal Rescue League of Boston—in addition to local animal control offers—to issue citations when dogs are housed in conditions deemed cruel, such as exposure to excessive animal waste, garbage, dirty water, noxious odors and other potentially dangerous circumstances.  Fines range from $50 for a first time offense to $300 for subsequent violations.

And, with winter fast approaching, the new law ensures animal control officers, law enforcement officers, and fire fighters have the authority to remove an animal from a car and cite the owner when conditions such as extreme cold (or heat) threaten the animal’s safety.  This essential protection is in place all year long and—with 2016 now set to be the warmest year on record—dogs trapped in hot cars next year will be even more vulnerable should this trend continue.

“We are grateful that these additional protection for animals are now law and we will be able to provide relief for more animals. Being able to issue a citation will prevent suffering and prevent situations escalating to be severe enough for a felony animal cruelty charge,” said Kara Holmquist, Director of Advocacy for the MSPCA-Angell.


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