From the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA)
Your Help is Needed to Pass Animal Control Bill with Pets/Domestic Violence Amendment
We’ve got fantastic news for animals, people, and municipalities in Massachusetts. The animal control and pets/domestic violence bills have been combined into one piece of legislation, S.2192, which has passed the Massachusetts Senate and will hopefully soon pass the House – with your help.
The animal control sections of the bill would improve animal welfare and public safety. Key provisions include creating a statewide fund, through a voluntary state income tax check-off, that would help pay for low-cost spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations, as well as provide animal control officers with training for their difficult and complicated jobs. The bill would also improve the law that requires animals who are adopted from shelters and animal control facilities to be spayed or neutered.
Communities would benefit from the section that improves the dangerous dog law (while preventing ineffective breed-specific ordinances) as well as through fewer costs incurred resulting from a reduction in the number of homeless animals. The bill would also prohibit certain inhumane methods of euthanasia for dogs and cats and provide other meaningful updates to the state’s antiquated animal control laws.
The animal control language has a broad base of organizations and individuals supporting it, including: The Animal Control Officers Association of Massachusetts (ACOAM), the MSPCA, the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the state’s Bureau of Animal Health within the Department of Agricultural Resources, and the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA).
Likewise, a strong coalition of domestic violence and animal protection organizations supports the pets and domestic violence language, including: MSPCA, Safe People Safe Pets, Human/Animal Violence Education Network, REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence, Dove, Inc., Renewal House, Our Sister’s Place, Fall River, Womanshelter/Companeras, YWCA of Western Massachusetts, American Humane Association (AHA), and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
The link between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented in both study statistics and stories of abuse. Abusers know that they can control their human victims by threatening to harm the family pets, or by harming them and threatening worse injury to the animals and to the people who are trying to protect them. This manipulative behavior is far too common and it works quite well to demonstrate the abuser’s power and control, to retaliate against victims for acts of independence, to keep a victim silent and to coerce a victim to return.
The pets/domestic violence section of S.2192 would specifically allow judges to include pets in temporary restraining orders. If a judge finds reason to include a companion animal in the order of protection, the petitioner can be given exclusive custody, care and control over the animal and/or the abuser can be ordered to stay away from and be prohibited from abusive behavior toward the pet, which would trigger a violation of the restraining order.
Please let your Massachusetts Representatives know that you want them to support S.2192. To find out who represents you in the Massachusetts House, enter your address at www.wheredoivotema.com and scroll down to find Representative in General Court. For more information and to take action on S.2192, visit www.mspca.org/animalcontrolbill. If you have questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mspcaanimalactionteam