August 15, 2014
Boston – On Thursday, the House and Senate enacted a bill aimed at protecting animal welfare and safety in the Commonwealth. Senator Ross was a cosponsor of the original bill, filed by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), which passed the Senate unanimously just before the end of the formal legislative session on July 31st.
“Combating animal abuse in our state has been a major priority of mine, and this legislation makes major strides to tighten our current laws and increase penalties for those convicted of these heinous crimes,” said Senator Ross. “As a dog owner, my hope is that this bill will offer some comfort to our communities and assist in deterring these acts in the future.”
The bill, which garnered both bipartisan and bicameral support, increases fines for those convicted of animal cruelty crimes from $2,500 to $5,000 for a first offense, and raises the maximum prison time from five to seven years for a first offense. The legislation also creates a task force of experts designed to review animal abuse prevention methods and offer recommendations for further action. Under the new law, veterinarians will be required to report suspected acts of animal abuse to law enforcement; better equipping public safety officials targeting these acts of cruelty.
The bill will now be sent to Governor Patrick for approval.
Senator Ross with his dog Colbie, a six year old Australian Shepherd.