Tom Duggan – May, 2012
State Representatives Brad Hill (R) says that he took exception to comments made in a Valley Patriot story this month on a set of bills that could put animal shelters and resources out of business and he called The Valley Patriot newsroom to set the record straight.
“I thought The Valley Patriot was very fair in your coverage, but in the story you quoted a woman as saying that I voted against devocalization bill [a piece of legislation that would make it illegal to surgically remove dogs vocal chords].
Hill said that “only one representative voted against the bill and it wasn’t me. I supported banning devocalization so; it’s unfortunate that you were told an out and out lie. They are trying to paint me in a certain color on this issue that I am not. I think you will see with my votes and my previous remarks on shelters and rescues that I am not what they say I am.”
The Ipswich State Representative said that he is still trying to bring both sides together on the bill that could allow the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture to regulate shelters and rescues out of business.
“I am happy to bring both the breeders and the shelters together and work on coming to a consensus on this issue,” he said.
“I am, and have been trying to learn both sides of the issue and, again people shouldn’t assume I voted a certain way or that I hold a certain position. They should look up the votes, they should talk to me. I had a constituent call me and say ‘this isn’t accurate, I know you voted for the devocalization ban,’ so thankfully they knew that but I do want to set the record straight with your readers.”
Hill said he first got to know people in the dog breeder industry when he sponsored the “dangerous dog bill” in The House. “I don’t think dogs should be punished because of their breed, they should be punished for their actions. So, I opposed the dangerous dog bill and I think people on both sides of this other issue would applaud that.”
“The dangerous dog bill would have put into place a law which said that no community could pass a regulation or ordinance that was breed specific when it came to dogs. For example, say Worcester didn’t want put bulls in their communities they could pass a regulation that would ban pit bulls. I don’t think that’s right. I think any regulation or local ordinance put into place should have criteria set up that deems a dog dangerous by their actions, not by just being a specific breed.”
“I have seen pit bulls go into nursing homes visit elderly people and they are the kindest gentlest dogs.”
“I have been a very strong supporter of laws that make sure dogs are safe and that people are safe.”
“What people also need to understand about the current bill that is being considered is that, when a constituent asks me to file a bill we have to do that (file it). You can do it by request, but I never do that because I think every bill should have its day in court.”
“As I am finding out, there is a lot more to this issue than I thought, and I am finding out that people on both sides have a lot of misinformation on these issues. I don’t think people are lying to me, I just think the information they have, and are giving, is something that they believe is happening but it’s not. As a legislator I am trying to figure out the facts. A lot of people are giving opinions based on what they believe and I want to make sure that when I make a decision that I have the right information, that’s why we all need to be in a room and talk about these issues.”
“I am looking forward to working with everyone to get the issue resolved.”
(C) Copyright, Tom Duggan & Valley Patriot, Inc., 2012, All rights reserved