Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) and his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate unanimously adopted a bill designed to protect the health, safety and well-being of animals. S.2332, “An Act to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns” (PAWS II), expands on gains first secured in the original PAWS law which was filed in response to the Puppy Doe animal abuse case of 2014.
“I was proud to support this important piece of legislation that strengthens and adds to the animal safety and welfare protections created under the original PAWS bill,” said Sen. DiDomenico, Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate. “This bill sends a strong message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated, and we will continue working to ensure that all animals are treated humanely here in the Commonwealth.”
“The Puppy Doe animal torture case inspired strong legislative action designed to increase protections for animals and prevent animal cruelty and neglect. PAWS II builds on the foundations of our original law and 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,” said Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), Minority Leader of the Massachusetts and the original sponsor of the bill.
“Our commitment towards ending the cruel and inhumane treatment of innocent animals is steadfast, and today we have taken significant action to protect their safety and welfare,” said Chairman Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), a longtime champion of animal welfare legislation. “There is zero tolerance for such despicable brutality and today’s action by the Senate sends a clear message.”
“We do not tolerate animal cruelty in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “This legislation ensures that animals are treated humanely and that those who engage in animal cruelty are punished. One animal that dies of mistreatment is one animal too many.”
PAWS II will enhance humane treatment of animals, expand the role of mandated reporters, and punish those who engage in animal cruelty. Key components of the bill include provisions to:
- ensure abuse is reported;
- ensure efficient enforcement of animal control laws;
- prohibit the drowning of wild and domestic animals;
- prohibit engaging in sexual contact with an animal;
- remove automatic killing of animals involved in animal fighting;
- add 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;
- prohibit discrimination against specific dog breeds; and
- require abandoned animal checks in vacant properties.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.