Legislature sends Patrick animal cruelty measure.
Byline: Donna Boynton
BOSTON -- The state Legislature Thursday passed a bill that increases penalties for animal cruelty and also requires veterinarians to report suspected abuse.
The bill, known as Senate Bill 2345 of "The Puppy Doe Law'' and filed by state Rep. Bruce Ayers, D-Quincy, now awaits Gov. Deval L. Patrick's signature. The bill raises the maximum penalty for animal-cruelty convictions from 5 to 7 years and increases the maximum fine from $2,500 to $5,000. In addition, the bill included a penalty of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000 for repeat convictions.
The bill also requires veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse and creates a task force of law enforcement, animal-protection organizations, veterinary professionals and legal experts to evaluate the state's animal-cruelty laws.
"It's a good day on Beacon Hill,'' Mr. Ayers said shortly after the bill was passed.
Mr. Ayers first filed the bill in 2013 to increase the animal-cruelty penalties in Massachusetts, which were among some of the most lenient in the country. The bill was moved to the forefront after the infamous "Puppy Doe'' case, in which a a pit bull suffered torture, was abandoned and later euthanized because of the severity of her injuries. The dog was allegedly purchased from a Worcester couple.
"From this incident we received a tremendous amount of support towards strengthening the laws to prevent animal abuse,'' Mr. Ayers said, adding that by working with Sen. Bruce E. Tarr, R-Gloucester, and Rep. Louis Kafka, D-Sharon, and other legislators and animal advocates, "Puppy Doe did not die in vain, for when Gov. Patrick signs the bill, we will have a new law to prevent animal cruelty and give a voice to the voiceless animals in the commonwealth. It is my hope that the passage of this bill will send a clear message to that animal abuse will not be tolerated and that violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.''
Contact Donna Boynton at Donna.Boynton@telegram.com or follow her on Twitter @DonnaBoyntonTG
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|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Aug 15, 2014|
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