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New Massachusetts State Director! 

Greetings! My name is Laura Hagen and I'm excited to introduce myself to you as the HSUS Massachusetts state director. I look forward to connecting with you online, at legislative events, or in your community, and can't wait to work with you on behalf of animals in Mass. and beyond.

A little more about me: I have deep roots both in Massachusetts and at our State House--I'm a Midwest transplant who arrived in Boston 16 years ago and never left, and I spent five years lobbying on behalf of Massachusetts' animals as the MSPCA's deputy director of advocacy. In that role, I managed advocacy campaigns that included efforts to curtail wildlife trade, to protect captive and domestic wildlife, to end intensive farm animal confinement practices, and to end the sale of animals in pet stores. Prior to joining the HSUS, I served as counsel, captive animal law enforcement for the Foundation to Support Animal Protection, where I provided legal advice on captive wildlife campaigns, including investigations, regulatory efforts, policy, and litigation. I received my J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland Oregon (with certificates in environmental and animal law), and am incredibly proud that I entered the animal advocacy world through the MSPCA’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center where I worked as a program manager and as a vet tech. 

I still love to volunteer at spay/neuter and vaccination clinics, as well as run, hike, and read on the beach. I live in Salem with my partner, Damon, and our family--George (the best dog ever), and Gomer and Archie (the greatest cats of all time).

State Wildlife Bills on the Move!

Bills banning circuses and traveling acts with wild animals and improving MA poaching laws have passed a key legislative benchmark.

Circus bills: Bills that would prohibit circuses/traveling shows from performing with elephants, big cats, bears, primates, and giraffes in Mass. were reported favorably from the Tourism Committee right after Thanksgiving! S. 2028 (sponsored by Senators Bruce Tarr and Jim Welch) is now in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and H. 2934 (sponsored by Representatives Lori Ehrlich and Brad Jones) is now in the House Committee on Ways and Means. 

Take Action: Please call your state senator and state representative and ask them to support these bills!

Poaching bill: In October, H. 4131, the bill adding Massachusetts to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact moved out of the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture committee. The bill modernizes our state poaching penalties and includes Massachusetts in an interstate law enforcement network and ends our status as a poacher’s paradise. It was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. While this bill has gotten “stuck” in this committee for a few legislative sessions--leaving Massachusetts as one of only two states not signed onto the compact--I am hopeful that with so much lead time we will be able to shake it loose this session!

February 5th, 2020 is the deadline for state bills to be reported from committee. In general, bills not reported out by that date will not move forward this legislative session. We'll need your help in the new year to reach out to your legislators to ask them to move as many bills forward as possible. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to take action in January!

Mendon Becomes 11th Mass. Locality to Ban Circuses!

At their special town meeting in November, Mendon voters told circuses with wild animal acts to take a hike. Circuses performing with dangerous wild animals will no longer be welcomed in the town, thanks to a Mendon advocate who worked with her neighbors to file the bylaw and ensure it passed!

Please email me at if you would like to work on a local ordinance--I'm here to help! 

Kind Acts for Animal Shelters

Animal shelters work hard 365 days a year to care for the pets in their communities--show some acts of kindness to the unsung shelter staff heroes and the animals they care for!

Looking for that perfect holiday gift? Have someone on your list that has everything or loves animals? ’Tis the season for giving, and shelters and sanctuaries need our help, so how about sponsoring an animal at a sanctuary or animal shelter near you! Here’s how:
  1. Pick a shelter or sanctuary you want to support.
  2. Tell them you would like to sponsor an animal for a holiday gift, or purchase a gift from their Amazon wish list.
  3. Send a donation, request a receipt, and find an adorable picture of one of the shelter's animals from its website or PetFinder.
  4. Place the picture in a fun frame, wrap it, and give it with the receipt for the donation.
  5. Enjoy the feeling of giving a gift and helping animals!
One act of kindness can change a life.

Thank you for all you do to help build a more humane Massachusetts!

Laura Hagen
Massachusetts State Director

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