MA animal action alert: please call today to help animals
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Speak out for animals

Your state senator and representative only have a few days before the deadline to co-sponsor important animal bills.

Your call is extremely effective. Please call your state legislators right now. Look up your legislators' phone numbers.

You can say: "Please co-sponsor important animal bills, including... [insert the docket number(s) and issue(s) you feel strongly about from the list below]" After your call, please follow up with a brief email. 

Prevent illegal poaching 

HD 3464, HD 3466, and SD 654 modernize penalties for poaching -- the illegal killing and harming of wildlife -- and enter Massachusetts into an interstate law enforcement network, ending our status as a poacher’s paradise and protecting wildlife, tourism, and business.

Some of Massachusetts’ poaching penalties haven’t been updated in nearly a century; Sen. Mike Moore and Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Rep. Lori Ehrlich, and Rep. Cory Atkins have filed legislation updating our penalties so that they are in line with other states and are sufficient to deter would-be poachers.

Joining the nationwide law enforcement network will end our status as a safe haven for poachers whose licenses have been suspended in other states. The threat of not being able to hunt, fish, or trap in most other states serves as a powerful deterrent to would-be poaching criminals.

Halt trafficking in elephant ivory, rhino horn

HD 758 and SD 457 crack down on the illegal trafficking of wildlife by banning the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horn in the Commonwealth. 

Sen. Jason Lewis and Rep. Lori Ehrlich filed legislation that shines a spotlight on the wanton cruelty of trophy hunting and helps ensure that Massachusetts does not play a role in the unprecedented global poaching crisis.

The legislation strengthens state-level protections by largely mirroring the new federal law and establishing the Endangered Elephant and Rhino Conservation and Education Fund with penalties assessed under the new law. This Fund will promote conservation and provide financial rewards for information leading to arrest and conviction of violators.

Protect elephants from cruel circuses

HD 295 and SD 1328 prohibit elephant acts in traveling shows in Massachusetts. Life on the road is misery for elephants.

Use of elephants in circuses, for rides, at fairs, and in other traveling shows subjects highly intelligent, social animals to cruel treatment and a miserable life on the road, where they are deprived of exercise and the ability to express even their most basic, natural behaviors. When chained and confined in small spaces, handled with electric prods and bullhooks, and kept in socially-deprived conditions, elephants become unhealthy, depressed, and aggressive. This legislation, filed by Sen. Kathleen O'Connor Ives and Rep. Lori Ehrlich, will ensure that Massachusetts will no longer subjects captive elephants to this cruelty.

Save sea turtles, wildlife from plastic bags

HD 2133 and SD 1104 ban single-use plastic bags, which contribute to litter on our streets, in trees and city storm drains, and pose a lethal danger to our wildlife.

Plastic bags wash into our rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans, where they are ingested by or entangle sea turtles, otters, seals, fish, and birds. Some ocean animals mistake the bags for food, filling their stomachs with plastics, and die of starvation.

In fact, it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than marine life in the ocean. This legislation, filed by Sen. James Eldridge and Rep. Lori Ehrlich, has the potential to protect our environment and our wildlife.

Requires science in Blue Hills management

HD 3063 requires scientific evidence be used for wildlife and ecosystem management in the Blue Hills, located just outside of Boston. Prior to 2016, no hunting had occurred in the Blue Hills for more than 100 years. 

Rep. Driscoll summarized, “New plant and tree growth on the forest floor is not occurring at the rate of previous years and decades past. There is uncertainty and some disagreement as to the causes of this phenomenon, and how to best proceed to ensure the health of the forest thrives in the long-term... Outdated studies are being used to justify current actions, such as de-populating the deer in the hope that fewer deer will mean less damage to new growth, and a return to a thriving ecosystem. 

A new study and scientific survey conducted on the Blue Hills Reservation would help to determine why the forest health is declining, and inform how to best ensure that holistic improvements occur."

"PAWS II" - animal cruelty and protection

HD 2206 and SD 949 enact recommendations from the Animal Cruelty Task Force, legislatively created in the wake of the "Puppy Doe" cruelty case by the PAWS (Protect Animal Welfare and Safety) Act in 2014.

Puppy Doe was systematically and severely tortured over several months. The details of this case galvanized Massachusets citizens -- including state lawmakers. As a result, the task force was formed and directed to thoroughly investigate the strength and effectiveness of existing laws to prevent cruelty to animals, and to determine what gaps exist.

Filed by Sen. Mark Montigny and Sen. Bruce Tarr, along with Rep. Louis Kafka, this legislation is the result of the task force’s effort and is the next step toward ensuring our laws protect both people and pets.

Fight puppy mills

HD 1502 and SD 1636 help protect puppies and kittens, their parents, and consumers in four ways:
  1. Prohibit the sale of puppies and kittens under eight weeks of age
  2. Improve the “puppy lemon law” to better protect and provide recourse for families who unknowingly purchase a sick puppy or kitten
  3. Require the promulgation of rules and regulations for certain Massachusetts breeders that currently have no oversight except through local kennel licenses
  4. Ensure that Massachusetts pet shops only sell puppies and kittens from breeders who adhere to minimum animal health and welfare standards
Hundreds of state documents reveal that sick puppies and kittens are sold to Massachusetts families by breeders and pet shops. This legislation filed by Sen. Karen Spilka and Rep. Jennifer Benson will help.

Prevent breed discrimination

HD 1562 and SD 429 prevent insurance companies from denying, canceling, failing to renew, or charging an increased premium for homeowners or renters insurance based on the breed of their dog.

Policies that target specific breeds discriminate against responsible dog owners who properly train and socialize their dogs. As a result, owners unable to obtain insurance may surrender their dogs to shelters and other potential adopters may be unwilling to adopt certain breeds. Sen. Anne Gobi and Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis' legislation will help prevent lives from being lost and families broken because of ineffective insurance policies. 

Check vacant properties for animals

HD 2481 and SD 405 reduce animal suffering and needless deaths by requiring landlords and foreclosing owners to check for abandoned animals in recently vacated and foreclosed units, then to immediately notify an animal control or law enforcement officer if an animal is found.

Although animal abandonment is a felony in Massachusetts, animals are still frequently abandoned in vacant properties after a foreclosure, eviction or other termination of tenancy. Abandoned animals can suffer and die if they’re not found in a timely manner. Additionally, property owners, animal control officers and others need clarity as to what they are permitted to do with an animal that has been left behind.  


Establish standards for dog daycare

HD 1716 and SD 997 establish minimum standards for boarding kennels and daycare facilities for dogs.

It requires that the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources promulgate rules and regulations regarding staff qualifications and development, provider/dog ratios and interaction, group sizes and supervision, minimum housing and care requirements, indoor and outdoor physical facility requirements, etc.

Rep. James Cantwell and Rep. Hannah Kane, along with Sen. Harriette Chandler, filed this legislation to help protect dogs while they're away from their family and entrusted to the care of a boarding kennel or daycare facility. 

Alternatives to animal product testing 

HD3640 and SD2001 require the use of available test methods that avoid or reduce animal testing of products and ingredients.

This important legislation, filed by Sen. Mark Montigny and Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis, compels manufacturers and their contract testing facilities to use test methods that replace, reduce, or refine the use of animals.

Alternatives provide information of equivalent or superior quality and relevance to humans in comparison to animal tests.The bill applies to products such as cosmetics, household cleaners, and industrial chemicals, like those in paint. 

Facilitate citations for cruel conditions 

HD 1438 and SD 1460 extend prohibitions against cruel conditions to include farm animals, allowing a quick response to situations involving farm animals and preventing animals from being subjected to filthy, unhealthy, or unsafe confinement conditions.

Last year, municipal and special state police officers responded to a 70-acre parcel in Westport where over 1,000 animals were found. Some were dead and others in such poor health that on-site euthanasia was required. Cows, goats, and pigs were found in filthy makeshift pens with little access to clean water and food. Some animals foraged for food amid piles of garbage while other animals lay dead near the food source. 

This legislation, filed by Sen. Mark Montigny as well as Rep. Michelle DuBois and Rep. Angelo Puppolo, can help prevent situations from developing to the point where animals are suffering and beyond veterinary help. 

OPPOSE: Livestock board 

HD 1356 creates a board designed to give the illusion that the welfare of farm animals is being seriously considered, while blocking protections and maintaining the status quo. Livestock board proposals have been rejected by state legislatures across the country and repeatedly by Massachusetts lawmakers. 

In prior sessions, 13 of the 15 seats were reserved for those likely to have direct or indirect financial ties to agribusiness. This could consistently put the MSPCA and Animal Rescue League of Boston in the position of being the minority voice as regulations are pushed through to water down or even nullify efforts that legislators and citizens have undertaken to protect farm animals. This is why both animal welfare organizations join the HSUS in opposing the board’s creation.

OPPOSE: Bills removing restrictions on trapping, bear and bobcat hounding 

Each session, several bills are filed which would remove current restrictions on the cruel use of packs of dogs to hound bears and bobcats or of body-gripping and leghold traps to capture fur-bearing mammals, such as beaver and coyote. These trapping bills take a variety of approaches, but the result would effectively allow a return to the days of recreational trapping with inhumane and indiscriminate devices, practices that 64% of Massachusetts' voters decried in 1996 when they voted in favor of the Wildlife Protection Act ballot initiative.

The current law, revised in 2000 by a conference committee with input from key stakeholders, made substantial concessions to the Wildlife Protection Act, providing for more local authority to issue permits for trapping and other options. Further changes are unnecessary. 
Thank you for speaking out for animals! 

Stephanie J. Harris
Massachusetts State Director
Are you looking for more ways to help animals? Get involved with animal issues in your own neck of the woods. Let us know what issues interest you most by filling out this short form, and we’ll connect with you on ways to engage. You’ll be called on to help as needed, and you can volunteer as much time as you’d like.

Copyright © 2017 The Humane Society of the United States - Massachusetts, All rights reserved.
The Humane Society of the United States
PO Box 300326     Boston, MA 02130

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