These appear in order of the date of floor action.
|March 15, 2018 PAWS ACT: Question came on S 1159 to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns, coming first on a Rules amendment S 2332.
GOBI AMENDMENT 1: Legally trapped fur bearing animals
The amendment was ADOPTED.
JEHLEN AMENDMENT 2: Penalties
The amendment was ADOPTED.
Sen. Chandler recognized Sen. Tarr, who doubted the vote and asked for a roll call.
Sen. Tarr moved no action be considered on Amendment 2.
JEHLEN AMENDMENT 2: Penalties
Sen. Jehlen received unanimous consent to WITHDRAW the amendment.
JEHLEN AMENDMENT 3: Juveniles
Sen. Jehlen said, I hope this is adopted. I am no enemy of animals. I have two cats, two bunnies, and my daughter, I respected her decision not to dissect frogs. But this strikes section seven, which I do not believe protects animals. It is a criminal justice change. There is no evidence treating juveniles as adults will protect public safety or animals. Ratcheting up of sentencing occurs every time something bad happens and we want to express our disapproval. We have only one hammer we turn to, the hammer of other sentences. We have other tools to turn to, and the tool for juveniles here should be treatment for their very likely mental health. Longer sentences and adult prison don’t deter or remediate. It’s been pointed out people who torture and abuse animals are very likely to continue by abusing human beings. But there’s no evidence that sending them to adult prison, where they’ll associate with people who do many kinds of behavior we don’t want to see replicated, we don’t know of any evidence that will improve their mental health, behavior, or safety of animals. I will not be voting for future bills which lengthen sentences until I see evidence.
Sen. Jehlen requested a roll call vote. There was support.
Sen. Montigny said, I urge my colleagues vote no. There is perhaps no one I have higher respect for than the lady who just spoke. That doesn’t mean there aren’t several I respect as much. She and I agree far more than I disagree, but let me clarify what we’re doing. THere’s been some misinformation throughout the day. The original PAWS Act had only one intention, and there’s a lot of people in her passionate about protecting harmless, voiceless animals. It doesn’t always work when the offender is before a judge. We have passed these strict laws.
Sen. Fattman rose and said he was having a difficult time hearing.
Sen. Montigny said, It’s so infrequent I’m accused of being subtle and demure. Let me be clear. We’ve discussed the bill a lot to day and I won’t burden you with details. It’s a clarification in a way. Several things have happened since we past the first bill. We’ve empowered civilians to break a car window when an animal is being tortured in a very hot or cold car. The only thing we are doing in section 7 is responding to a 2017 SJC case. When the SJC encourages the Legislature to do its job, we should. We’re not creating a new crime or dipping into criminal justice since there’s a very productive conference committees on that. I’ll read the words — the dog in this case was horribly tortured and the commonwealth had limited resources because her torturer was a teenager. The judge suggested the commonwealth amend the statement. We are simply saying that if you violently abuse and torture and murder an innocent being, you may be treated as a youthful offender in the judge’s and prosecutor’s discretion. We are in no way backing of criminal justice reform as misinformation has stated. We’re also making sure that when people do torture and murder innocent being, that the judge, the prosecutor and the court has discretion to treat them as the violent individual there are. There’s been thoughtful discussion from the other side and the gentlelady from Somerville is one of my dearest friends. But we should reject the amendment if we believe in a course of action to protect these innocent beings.
Sen. Tarr said, I rise in opposition so that we can continue to lead this country in having animal protection laws that make sense. Madam President, I think it’s important to understand what Section 7 does but let’s talk about how we got to this bpoint. We all know in 2013 there was a horrendous case of abuse of an animal, a dog that was abused so badly it had to be euthanized and became known as Puppy Doe. I filed in response something that became known as PAWS, protecting animal welfare and safety. It was because we took a long look at all the statutes. We passed PAWS I, increasing penalties for first offense and creating a penalty for second and subsequent acts. That did not exist. There were a number of issues we acknowledged but could not address in the limited time remaining in the session. We put together a comprehensive commission to look at those issues, including some of the archaic laws. That commission reported back in July 2016. Remember the PAWS bill was passed in 2014, so there was a tremendous amount of time spent on this issue. Here is the report. If I held the whole thing up, I’m not even sure how long I could hold it up because of its thickness. The task force looked at many issues and those recommendations are what form the basis of PAWS 2. It’s not arbitrary. It did not fall out of the sky. It wasn’t written on the back of an envelope. This bill increases DCF reporting on animal abuse because we know the connection between animal abuse and abusing humans. There’s an emphasis on the issue of drowning of animals. We’ve had to clarify what that means by amendment so folks who are doing trapping and things to protect public health will not be subject to those penalties. There’s something from my good friend from Acton relative to inspecting vacant buildings to make sure an abandoned animal isn’t suffering. I appreciate the agreement on the vast majority of this bill. It reflects how the Senate operates. Now we come to Section 7, which does not mandate that someone will be tried as an adult for these crimes, does not mandate the district attorney will seek youthful offender status, does not mandate a judge will find that status exist and does not mandate a juvenile be sentenced that makes them treated as an adult. It responds to the need for flexibility in these cases. There was a case in 2014 that’s been referenced by my friend from New Bedford. In that case, the subject was a 14-year-old who brutally tortured a friend’s dog. The district attorney decided to pursue youthful offender status because that crime was so offensive and it reflected a potential to harm human beings. The SJC decided that a youthful offender status could not be sought because the Legislature was equivocal on the issue of serious bodily injury, as to whether it applied only to humans or extended to animals. Section 7 responds to that issue and to the need for clarification raised in that case. I think it’s important to remember we’re talking about flexibility, not a predetermined result. The justice said the link between juvenile animal cruelty and later adulthood violence is strong. If the commonwealth can respond to this effectively, it may help spare future victims, human and animal life. The youthful offender statute, if offended, can provide more flexibility in such disquieting cases. Prosecutors can enlist the comprehensive assistance of the criminal justice system. There may be other avenues available, but the youthful offender statute could have been most appropriate in the case at hand. The Legislature may expand the reach of that statute if it wishes to better address animal abuse. Madam President, Section 7 which is now sought to be removed is a direct response to the SJC’s reasoning. The research indicates people who harm animals are five times more likely to harm human beings. In fact, the more we look at the issue, the more we actually find other very troubling statistics, including that 71 percent of battered women that have pets, the pets have been abused. There will be those who say keep everyone in the juvenile system and we should not allow this option for prosecutors and courts, but my belief is we ought to give those folks every available tool. The district attorneys have the opportunity to make a charging decision and the courts can decide not to grant it. This is about having an option when you have a particularly dangerous individual. To expand the reach of the youthful offender statute to better address animal abuse and cruelty. The choice is clear. Do we allow that tool or do we take it off the table? There are those that may want to indict our criminal justice system. We’re working very hard on reforms to address those issues. That effort does not dictate we withhold an important tool to ensure appropriate sanctions are available in cases of animal cruelty all too often later linked to harm to humans. I hope the amendment is not adopted.
Sen. Eldridge at 5:56 p.m. said, I rise in support. The bill has many strong provisions, including two I’ve done advocacy on. I do want to say it’s important and it’s been a theme of at least the majority of the Senate that we’re really trying to reform the criminal justice system, reducing the penalties for a wide variety of crimes. Hopefully it’s in the final bill. There’s particular agreement we should reduce penalties for juveniles. I’m particularly disturbed a youthful offender here could go to the Department of Correction. The system is fairly broken now and it’s deeply racist, it particularly punishes poor people. The idea we’d provide more ability to punish young people for any crime is deeply disturbing to me. It’s critical that any bill that comes before the Senate, we need to make sure penalties are reasonable and we’re not overly incarcerating people, especially the chance of incarcerating young people. We’re not mandating it but what we know and studies show this, when there is an option to punish someone including incarceration, there are opportunities for a miscarriage of justice. Let’s make sure the Senate does not enable that.
Sen. Tarr said, I just want to clarify something I said. I was trying to read from the report. The number is 48 to 71 percent of battered women have pets that were abused or killed. The gentleman at the microphone indicated opportunities for a miscarriage of justice. I would refer him to the appellate system. To withhold a tool because we may have a miscarriage of justice means we shouldn’t have any criminal sanctions at all.
Sen. Montigny said, Just speaking to the gentleman once removed. I agree that we have spent the better part of a year trying to reform the criminal justice system. I think as part of that we are in fact looking at reducing incarceration rates for nonviolent criminal penalties. We’re also constantly looking at providing more flexibility to the courts. In none of the debate have I heard the majority of this body suggest we should lessen penalties on violent felonies. I think it’s pretty compelling data cited by the minority leader. A 17-year-old could violently torture and kill an innocent being, spend a year at DYS, and then go out and do whatever they’re going to do to other beings. We should be addressing it. It’d be a gross misstatement to say the justice system is fair, but we’re doing nothing to add a new crime. We’re not increasing penalties. I hope we will stick to the facts. I think this will be a close vote but let’s remember, the SJC said fix what you set out to do. The bill in Section 7 fixes that. It doesn’t break any new ground. We’re simply saying that if you torture and kill an innocent being, the court and the prosecutor may seek this redress.
Senate President Chandler asked Sen. Jehlen if she wished to speak. Sen. Jehlen waved her hands.
BY A ROLL CALL VOTE of 19-17, the amendment was ADOPTED. The time was 6:06 p.m. President Chandler voted yes.
KEENAN AMENDMENT 4: Wrongful death or injury of animal companions
Sen. Keenan said, I’ll withdraw the amendment but I wanted to bring attention to an issue I think we’ll have to address eventually. This would have defined an animal companion, and then give the person who has that animal companion the ability to sue, to create a cause of action, if that companion is harmed or killed. The cause of action would allow damages for monetary value of animal itself and to the companionship loss. It would also include burial expenses and attorney fees, and veterinary fees if it’s an injury. It would cap damages at $25,000. The purpose was to advance the idea that pets are playing an increasing role in people’s lives and their value goes beyond strictly monetary. I hope as we go forward in future efforts to protect animals that this idea takes hold.
Sen. Keenan received unanimous consent to WITHDRAW the amendment.
MONTIGNY AMENDMENT 5: Preventing irresponsible backyard breeding practices
The amendment was REJECTED.
Amendment 6 was held.
RECESS: Senate President Chandler called a brief recess at 6:09 p.m.
TARR AMENDMENT 7: Duty to report
Sen. Fattman offered a further amendment 7.1, Duty to report.
Sen. Fattman said, I’ll be brief because we’re here late. About five years ago a family that lived down the road from me experienced a tragedy. The went outside to find their dog hit in the road and dead. I’ve been looking for a vessel since then for hit and runs on pets. I was shocked to find how weak they really were. A $50 fine if someone is caught in the act of a hit and run on a pet. Today I’m trying to strengthen this law to make the punishment better match the crime. My passion for the issue, I probably want to go further, to be honest, but I think this is a reasonable approach. The amendment would make it a misdemeanor and double the fine. In a second offense, the judge could line up to $500. There could be a jail sentence up to six months and it could be considered a felony. To me, when you consider pets — my daughter, this past snowstorm, put her arm around my little dog and said Millie, I love you. That’s something we all feel about our pets, that they are family.
Sen. Fattman requested a roll call vote.
RECESS: Senate President Chandler called a brief recess at 6:12 p.m.
RETURNS: The Senate returned to order at 6:43 p.m.
FATTMAN FURTHER AMENDMENT 7.1: Duty to report redrafted
RECESS: Senate President Chandler called a brief recess.
Sen. Fattman said, It’s my understanding I need to call for a roll call again due to the language change.
Sen. Fattman requested a roll call vote. There was support
BY A ROLL CALL VOTE of 35-1, the amendment was ADOPTED. President Chandler voted yes.
Tarr Amendment 7 was ADOPTED as amended.
MONTIGNY AMENDMENT 6: Corrective amendment.
Sen. Montigny said, I don’t tend to stand unless the minority leader asks for an explanation but now that I’m here, this truly is a technical amendment, striking the word not and fixing the word depict.
Sen. Montigny requested a roll call vote on the underlying bill. There was support
The amendment was ADOPTED.
The Rules Committee S 2332 amendment was ADOPTED. The amended bill was ordered to a third reading.
Sen. Tarr said, I’ll be brief. I just rise to thank all of the members for the robust discussion over the last several hours. I think the bill relative to puppies and kittens as well as the bill that now pends are significant advancements in what has been a tradition of having a comprehensive network of laws to adequately protect animals and hold accountable those that would abuse them. I think the bill that now stands for engrossment is a significant advancement in our work. It’s been the product of a lot of contributions, and I want to thank everyone for the debate.
Sen. Montigny said, I too rise in gratitude. When we have this intent debate and close votes, I think it reflects well on the body, notwithstanding the close vote I was on the losing end of. I appreciate the debate and particularly the yes vote from all of you on the bill.
Senators began filing out of the chamber after casting their votes. Sen. Timilty was called second, after President Chandler, and then left.the chamber.
BY A ROLL CALL VOTE OF 36-0, the bill was ENGROSSED. Senate President Chandler voted yes.
|March 15, 2018 ANIMAL PROTECTION: Question came on S 1155 relative to protecting puppies and kittens, coming first on a Ways and Means amendment S 2331.|
O’CONNOR AMENDMENT 1: Ending inhuman commercial sales of cats and dogs in Massachusetts
Sen. O’Connor asked that the amendment be held pending a redraft.
TARR AMENDMENT 2: Public hearings
Sen. Chandler said, There you are, I didn’t see you there. The senator from Plymouth and Norfolk, Mr. Tarr.
Sen. Tarr said, I’m not yet from Plymouth and Norfolk but I appreciate the expansion. I’m also not usually at this microphone, so I understand the confusion.
RECESS: The Senate stood in a brief recess at 3:02 p.m. on motion of Sen. Tarr.
Sen. Chandler recognized Sen. Tarr, who said, I move that the Senate continue to be in a brief recess.
Sen. Spilka said, We’re talking about an act relative to protecting puppies and kittens, which improves areas of current law dealing with sale and treatment of dogs and cats. This is something most people are surprised by, that Massachusetts is one of the few states that leaves commercial breeders including puppy mills totally pretty much unregulated. More states are recognizing the need for regulation. By passing this bill we will ensure the commonwealth does not become a haven for the worst breeders. I have gotten in just the past six months calls from two separate constituents.concerned they had separately bought puppies and each one was ill, what rights did they have? The kids were really enjoying the puppy but needed a couple thousand dollars worth of veterinarian fees. Proper breeding and safety standards can prevent numerous ailments that can emotionally and financially distressed owners not to mention cause pain for the pets. The bill strengthens the Massachusetts puppy lemon law by giving pet owners more options if they unknowingly purchase a sick dog. It ensures consumers won’t be forced to make the difficult choice of giving an animal up, putting it down, or exorbitant medical bills. Sellers would have to reimburse a portion of the medical bills. Sales of puppies and kittens under eight weeks old would be banned. It empowers the Department of Agriculture to create humane breeding rules. Puppies and kittens sold at pet shops would need to come from breeders without significant or repeat animal welfare violations. There will be standards as to what pets can be sold. This bill does not create liability for individual pet owners or hobby breeders for selling their own pets or offspring. We worked very closely with the hobby breeders. Being a small scale breeder years ago myself, this bill I believe strikes a balance. We’ve worked extensively to get to this compromise language that creates necessary safeguards to ensure puppies and kittens are raised in safe and healthy situations. I hope you will vote yes on this bill.
TARR AMENDMENT 2: The Senate ADOPTED an amendment titled Public hearings.
O’CONNOR AMENDMENT 1: Ending inhuman commercial sales of cats and dogs in Massachusetts
Sen. O’Connor said, I think in order to give the dogs and cats the justice that they deserve that we should go above and beyond USDA standards. Massachusetts is a leader on many issues, including animal cruelty. USDA standards include the confinement of dogs to small wire cages stacked on top of each other. They do not require socialization or human contact or exposure to sunlight. Puppy mills are allowed pursuant to USDA standards, and many violate these low standards with further abuse. Violations have been committed for years without enforcement across our nation. There have been multiple instances where customers are assured the breeders are human and licensed,when there’s really a long history of violations. If Massachusetts truly wants to end our supply and demand relationship with puppy mills, we must adopt this amendment. Yesterday I spoke with multiple pet shop owners before a redraft, and I sat with them and came up with a compromise. There are things inside the USDA regulations that are unacceptable in Massachusetts, and they said we agree. This amendment would hold Massachusetts to a higher standard, ensuring they get sunlight, limiting the litter they can produce, requiring a path for a dog to retire with a loving family. This humanizes this transaction that has been going on for too long and closes even more of the loopholes.
Sen. O’Connor requested a roll call vote.
PUPPIES AND KITTENS: The Senate returned to S 1155.
AMENDMENT 1: O’Connor redraft ending inhumane sales of cats and dogs in Massachusetts.
Sen. Tarr said I am trying to look at this from a different perspective, at majority microphone. This relates to minimum standards for breeders. This is a tremendously important amendment. When folks acquire a pet, they deserve to know that pet has been raised in a humane environment. The agriculture department would set those standards, exposure to sunlight and not being cages and socialization.
|June 6, 2018 ANIMAL WELFARE: Question came on S 2347 to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns.
BERTHIAUME AMENDMENT 2 — Necessary Wild Animal Exclusion
The amendment was REJECTED.
GENTILE AMENDMENT 3 — Pest Control
Rep. Gentile said, Thank you. My amendment would allow farmers, gardeners and people cultivating fruits and vegetable to be exempt from the drowning provisions if it comes to rodents and other pests. I think all of our districts have gardens in the backyard or side yard and it is not uncommon to rid a garden of rodents by taking an empty 5-gallon container of water, half filling it with water, dropping some sunflower seeds in it and putting a 2×4 on it so the chipmunks will run up it to eat sunflower seeds and drown. Now we’re making that a felony and you’d have to poison these rodents. Maybe you don’t want to do that because it could harm your dog or a neighbor’s dog. It also makes it unlawful to follow the Mass. Fish and Game protocol for eliminating beavers they determine can be removed. The method is to drown them unless it is an emergency. I think this is a bad idea so I submitted this amendment. I hope the provision is removed.
The amendment was REJECTED.
HOWITT AMENDMENT 8 – Animal Abuse Registry
The amendment was REJECTED.
RECESS: Rep. Haddad called a brief recess at 3:15 p.m.
SANCHEZ AMENDMENT 11: The House ADOPTED the Ways and Means Technical Amendment.
RECESS: The House stood in recess at 3:18 p.m.
RETURNS: The House returned to order at 3:21 pm
Rep. Sanchez said, Thank you to the gentleman from Sharon for all his hard work. In 2014, we passed the Protect Animal Welfare and Safety, or PAWS act, which formed a task force to study current animal cruelty laws. That task force met 23 times in the past 19 months and ultimately issued recommendations. The bill before us is the result. Our legislation updates laws and builds on our commitment to ensure every animal has safe livelihood. Similar to the PAWS act, it increases penalties for abuse and allows the court to consider animal abuse history. It increases the types of people who can report and prevent animal abuse. Professionals who may encounter suspected animal cruelty on the job often fear legal repercussions for reporting. This is not mandated reporting but allows them to report if they choose. We establish a commission to study mandated reporting requirements. Property owners would have to inspect vacant properties for animals. It saves the lives of animals unwillingly forced into fighting. Animal fighting victims are now required to be put down. This bill requires an individual assessment to determine suitability for adoption. A person who committed animal abuse is more likely to abuse a human, commit property crimes and be involved in drunk and disorderly conduct. By incorporating these statistics into our decisions, we can be more effective at addressing violence. This bill represents a thoughtful approach to policymaking, building on consensus of the task force. More than 50 percent of Massachusetts households have pets. This bill will help make sure every animal is safe from abuse.
Rep. Sanchez requested a roll call vote. There was support.
Rep. Haddad recognized Rep. Frost. She called the House to order at 3:31 p.m. and Rep. Frost approached the microphone.
Rep. Frost said, I wanted to raise an issue before we vote. I’m concerned there is a big flaw in it that if not addressed now, which I don’t think it will be because an amendment was already rejected, would need to be dealt with in conference committee. I’m going to plead with that committee and with the Senate that we address this issue. It’s the drowning of animals. We’re all against drowning pets, and we all should be. I think that’s the main intent of this bill, which is very good. The problem is we could be creating more problems when we deal with the issue of beavers. Right now, the way to deal with beaver problems is to trap them, get a permit, trap them and they drown them. The alternative is using traps that are ungodly big, that trap them on the shoreline, alive, and they can sit there for a day or two until the trapper comes back. The beaver’s exposed skin freezes to the metal. It is far more inhumane than catching them with a soft-leg trap and drowning them. It’ll be far more difficult to deal with the beaver population. We’re fundamentally impacting management decisions, which should be exempt from this bill. If the issue’s not addressed today, I hope it can be addressed in the Senate or hopefully in the conference committee so we’re not doing undue harm to drinking water and to people’s yards.
BY A ROLL CALL VOTE of 145-0, the bill was ENGROSSED.
|June 21, 2018 IVORY TRAFFICKING: Question came on a Ways and Means amendment to S 2382 relative to ivory and rhino horn trafficking.|
Sen. Lewis said, The membership is probably getting tired of hearing from me, and I’m switching mics so I get a different view. I’m excited to rise in support of this legislation. This is near and dear to my heart and many others. I was born and spent some of my childhood in South Africa and one of the most memorable experiences I ever had is having the great privilege to see elephants and rhinos up close in the wild on a safari. It’s incredible. Unfortunately, we are currently facing a crisis. Nearly 100 elephants are slaughtered by elephants each day. There are less than 500,000 in the wild. Rhinos, there are only 28,000 in the wild worldwide. These are amazing magestic animals, and they are disappearing because the demand for ivory and rhino horn is fueling a brutal trade. It is funding terror groups and prolonging wars in Africa. There is a direct link between poaching, terrorism and crime. Some say, that’s terrible, but it’s not our problem. But it is. The U.S. trails China as the biggest market in the world for ivory. Massachusetts and Boston is in the top 10 for U.S. cities for the ivory trade. Our demand for ivory trinkets. And in our own Commonwealth, is driving the slaughter of these animals in Africa. I’m proud to have teamed up with Rep. Ehrlich and worked on the issue with her and tremendous advocates. A number of other states passed similar legislation. What the bill does is it will harmonize state law with federal law. In 2016, federal regulations were updated to tighten the ability to buy or sell ivory or ivory products. That applies to interstate. This applies to intrastate. That will help do our part to stem the poaching. There are reasonable exemptions. Antiques, for example would be exempt, diminimus items with less than 200 grams not wholly made, musical instruments would be exempt, and there is an exemption for scientific and educational institutions and museums. I want to thank organizations. That includes the MSPCA, Zoo New England, the Humane Society and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the grassroots activists who worked so hard to bring this to the floor.
TARR AMENDMENT #1: ADOPTED
TARR AMENDMENT #2: reporting on convictions
Sen. Tarr said, I want to thank the titan of Truro for his cosponsorship which will create a system of reporting how much illegal trafficking there is.
CYR AMENDMENT #3: Exempting fossilized mammoth and mastodon ivory REJECTED
CYR AMENDMENT #4: Exempting antiques REJECTED
CYR AMENDMENT #5: Marine ivory
President Chandler said, Oh, you’re back.
Sen. Tarr said, You need to look left and right and chances are I’ll be at one of the mics. I’d like an explanation. It’s my understanding marine mammals are endangered. In this we appear to be exempting whales.
Sen. Cyr said, The amendment before us clarifies that bone, horn, tooth is not included as definition of ivory, so the sale, purchase or possession is not prohibited. This bill is about protecting elephants and rhinos. Whaling is prohibited not only by American law, but also international law. We had the last whaleship out of the U.S. I think in 1928 out of New Bedford. We haven’t seen whaling targeting marine mammals. The craft of scrimshaw and the work – these are crafters who began on whaleships. Imagine it’s 1840 and you’re stuck on a boat away from your family for up to two years. Members of the ship – and it was Yankees, native folks, free blacks – it was an equal opportunity industry. What whalers would do is take the teeth of sperm whales and carve into them. I represent a number of scrimshanders, who are concerned that it would make possession of whale teeth and walrus tusks – that they would be caught up in this bill. I have a constituent who had to spend hard time in jail as a scrimshander. Whales are widely protected. We’ve never hunted whales for their ivory and I suspect we won’t again.
The amendment was ADOPTED
|July 26, 2018 RESEARCH ANIMALS: Question came on a Ways and Means amendment to S 2624 protecting research animals.|
Sen. Tarr said, I appreciate the members who cosponsored this. We know because of the robust research, animals are often used. That research needs to go forward but the animals don’t need to be treated in an inhumane we. This requires that testing facilities if possible must allow adoption if appropriate. It provides that if it has a serious disease or dangerous tendency, that does not apply. And once the transfer is made, its liability is terminated. These make good pets. We’ve had that experience in my family and I know you have as well. These animals have given to society.
Sen. Tarr asked for a roll call on engrossment.
Sen. Welch said, This is often called the beagle freedom bill. They are the preferred animal for research institutions. This simply says the cats or dogs go to adoption. Right now they are euthanized after testing. There is an exemption for those who present a risk or who have serious disease. All this bill seeks is to provide these animals a chance to live our their lives. It clarifies that the adoption facility owes no duty of care. Adoption is a life-altering event. I would know. Earlier this year my family adopted a dog, Emmy. Every day she brings joy and love into our lives. I know I have had the same effect on hers.
Sen. Gobi said, Thank you Madam President. Nice to be able to say that. When this came before committee, I wasn’t aware of this issue. It’s usually beagles that are used. He’s giving these animals a new lease on life.
The Ways and Means amendment was adopted and the bill was ordered to a third reading.
President Spilka voted yes on engrossment.
BY A ROLL CALL VOTE OF 38 to 0 the bill was ENGROSSED
|July 30, 2018 CRUELTY CITATIONS: The Senate adopted a Rules Committee amendment (S 2640) and then ordered S 2285 enhancing the issuance of citations for cruel conditions for animals as amended to a third reading.|
Sen. Tarr said, This is championed by one the chamber’s most dogged advocates of animals and I hope he will explain it.
Sen. Montigny said, The gentleman can be so catty at times. I always wanted to participate in that tackiness because I hear it go back and forth on this floor. As chairman of the rules, I like to break the rules in this regard. Instead of using districts I like to refer to people by name. Their constituents deserve to hear their names. I want to thank Sen. Rodrigues and Sen. Tarr. We have a conference committee going now to agree to an important update to the Paws Act. In this case, without too much detail, we had a very unfortunate incident in July 2016 when the owner of a farm abused beyond words — I don’t want to elaborate and ruin your day — 1,400 animals suffering. The animal control officer didn’t even have the ability to go onto the farm to inspect and then cite. The fines aren’t anywhere near as onerous as they should be. At a minimum, it allows an animal control officer to enter the property and then any number of things can happen. There are folks who will be criminally charged, this does not supplant the criminal proceedings. This rules report substitutes a new text. It literally just gives the ability for experts to go onto a property to inspect, cite if the infractions are minor and then report to authorities to handle it. I will close with this: one thing I learned through work on preventing animal abuse is there are a lot of people in Massachusetts who love animals perhaps even more than they love people. If they collectively lobbied as well as some of the special interests around here there would be a lot less animal abuse.
Sen. Rodrigues said, It has been obvious throughout this session that many of us in this chamber care deeply about how animals are treated in society. In my district two years ago there was a sickening situation at a farm. The animal control officers who try to keep an eye on these farms were not equipped with the tools and training they needed to be able to do their job. With the help and support of Sens. Tarr and Montigny and others, we included language to professionalize our animal control officers throughout the state, mandating education and training and requiring they collect and store their data in an electronic format and we provide them with the tools necessary to write civil citations for those violating the laws of animal safety. I hope this bill is passed.
Sen. Montigny asked for a roll call vote. There was sufficient support.
BY A ROLL CALL VOTE OF 37-0, the bill was ENGROSSED. Time was 12:04 p.m.