Massachusetts Stiffens Animal Cruelty Penalties; Here’s What You Need to Know

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It’s a topic that anyone in the pet community or in general that has a heart filled with humanity and love can rally around. Nearly a year after a pit bull dubbed Puppy Doe was discovered starving, mutilated and burned(and later euthanized bc of the injuries) in Quincy, MA, Governor Deval Patrick has signed into law a bill approved by Massachusetts legislature maximizing the criminal penalties for animal cruelty.

“There was a tremendous outpouring to do something substantive in the wake of Puppy Doe,” said Rob Halpin, spokesman for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell.

While the bills was approved with overwhelming support in both the House and Senate and is targeted for serial offenders by increasing the penalties for second and subsequent crimes, its begs the question is this going far enough? While animal advocates in the state are applauding the new penalties, even a singular act against animals seems to us as something that should be aggressively penalized.

Senator Bruce Tarr said tougher penalties are needed because “we continue to see too many acts of heinous brutality against animals.”

Just last month in Long Island, NY a woman was arrested for allegedly throwing a white toy poodle out of her care while driving on Montauk Highway just last month. The first thought that came to mind was trying to reconcile and understand how miserable or bad her life could be where abusing a defenseless animal somehow makes one feel better.  The second was, lets throw her out of a moving vehicle on a highway and see how she likes it. While an eye for and eye seems a bit extreme, it seems only fair that enduring the same punishment you wish to inflict on an animal will detract these criminals and cowards from such torturous treatment.

While the Puppy Doe Law is a major step in detracting animal abuse, its our hope that in the short term it serves as a huge first step in changing the status quo across the country and more states enact Sweeping changes sooner than later.  As far as the bill goes, here’s what you need to know.

  • The bill was signed into law Wednesday and will go into effect in 90 days
  • The bill raise the maximum prison sentence for an animal cruelty charge from five to seven years in prison and the maximum fine from $2,500 to $5,000
  • The bill raises the maximum prison sentence to 10 years for repeat offenders.
  • The bill also requires veterinarians to report any suspicions of abuse they see during their observations of animals. Vets who don’t would be reported to the state Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine

Do you think the laws are stiff enough or would you like to see more? Leave your thoughts and comments below.

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