The PAWS ACT Presented By State Senator Bruce Tarr
By: Tracey Zysk – May, 2014
The Valley Patriot is once again praising Senator Bruce Tarr for his endless efforts to keep our pets safe in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
On April 24, 2014 Senator Tarr presented his Animal Protection Bill to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. The room was filled with several legislators, animal activists, and advocacy groups testifying in support of the comprehensive animal abuse protection bill, which has 75 additional co-sponsors.
As posted on State Senator Bruce Tarr Facebook page:
The legislation raises fines and penalties, and creates an animal abuse registry. Highlights of the bill include:
• Establishing an anonymous animal abuse tip hotline.
• Expanding the use of the Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund to include the rehabilitation and care of abused animals, and increasing the size of the board that administers the fund to include a special state police officer from an animal humane organization, and a member of local law enforcement.
• Imposing a fine of up to $1,000 on any veterinarian who knowingly and willfully fails to report a suspected act of cruelty to an animal.
• Increasing the penalties associated with cruelty to animals, or maliciously killing, maiming, disfiguring, or exposing them to poison from a monetary fine of $2,500 or imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2½ years to between $2,500 and $10,000 and/or imprisonment.
• Providing judicial discretion to expand the penalties for up to 5 additional years imprisonment and an additional $10,000 fine based on a finding of the existence of aggravating factors, including but not limited to the number of animals involved, the degree of premeditation or planning, whether the abuse occurred in the presence of a child; whether the abuse occurred as a result of acts undertaken for financial benefit (i.e., dogfighting), and whether the abuse was systematic or isolated.
• Increasing the penalties for a second or subsequent offense from 5-10 years state imprisonment and a fine between $5,000 to $20,000.
• Increasing the penalty for a hit and run conviction on a cat or dog from a $50 fine to up to $2,000 fine and/or up to 60 days in a house of corrections.
• Creating a statewide registry of convicted individuals of animal abuse crimes, and requires all animal shelters, pet stores or animal breeders to check the registry prior to offering, selling, delivering, or giving an animal to any individual.
• Creating a 9-member commission to review the state’s animal cruelty laws, many of which date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
This hearing was an important step in the legislative process. With formal sessions ending on July 31st, Senator Bruce Tarr states “It is imperative that people call, email, or write to the members of the Judiciary Committee to release the bill favorably.”
If you would like to be a part in helping this bill pass please follow this attached link and write your letters today! Our pups appreciate all your help.
Tracey Zysk, owner of Wiggles & Jiggles Pet Care in North Andover MA is a local pet care professional. She has been featured on local radio, tv and newspapers educating the general public on animal care and animal health & wellness. Tracey is a proud supporter of Police, Fire & Military K9 units and National Award winner of the Platinum PAW award. Tracey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Become a fan on Facebook at Wiggles & Jiggles Pet Care.