Massachusetts Governor signs bill to overhaul animal control and prohibit BSL

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a comprehensive overhaul of the state’s animal control law on August 2, 2012. This is a very important bill that a number of animal advocacy groups worked on for six years. Of important significance, the law provides that no dog shall be declared dangerous based solely on breed, and no city or town can regulate dogs in a manner that is breed specific.

Other provisions established in this monumental bill include:

*The requirement that all animal control officers be certified and trained in their field;

*Allows people seeking restraining orders to list their pets, allowing the pets to be taken with them;

*The creation of a state-wide fund for donations to a spay/neuter program for homeless pets. The fund will help to reduce the number of homeless animals in the state and would, in turn, also reduce the cost to cities and towns for housing and sheltering these animals. Donations will be able to be made through a voluntary tax check off; and

*The eliminate of the option of using carbon monoxide or dioxide chambers for euthanizing animals.

The signing of this bill makes Massachusetts the 13th state to prohibit municipalities from passing breed specific ordinances, thus underscoring the growing understanding that breed specific laws do not work and are ineffective at achieving community safety.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in crafting this monumental bill…your hard work and dedication paid off in the creation of a common sense law that will benefit everyone in Massachusetts – humans and animals alike.

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