Massachusetts is currently proposing an act called An Act to Protect Puppies and Kittens (SB 401 & HB 1874). The bill is being sponsored by state Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein and Sen. Karen Spilka. The purpose of the bill is to protect puppies, kittens, pet owners and consumers in three ways: by prohibiting the sale of puppies and kittens under 8 weeks old, improving the Massachusetts Puppy Lemon Law and requiring the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture to promulgate rules and regulations for breeders.
About 4,000 bills are proposed each term and very few get out of committee. The reason why this particular bill is so important is because of the overpopulation and suffering of dogs. The law is to help protect animals from being taken advantage of by irresponsible breeders, puppy mills and pet stores. The bill will also help protect the people who end up purchasing an ill dog from a pet store by improving the lemon law that is already in place. Though not everyone may consider themselves animal lovers, this law being passed does benefit a wide range of Massachusetts residents — whether they be people not wanting to contribute to local government paying more than $2 billion dollars annually to shelters, not wanting to purchase a puppy with health problems or just not wanting to promote puppy mills. These are all valid reasons why this bill needs to be passed in Massachusetts.
According to Friends of Animals fact sheet, “Over $2 billion dollars is spent annually by local government to shelter and ultimately destroy eight million to 10 million adoptable animals due to a shortage of homes.” In the U.S. alone, there are eight million dogs and cats going into shelters each year and more than half of them will not make it out of shelters alive. This bill would help lower these numbers by promulgating rules and regulations for breeders. If we do not pass this law, the overpopulation of animals will continue and the numbers of dogs entering shelters and not leaving them alive will continue to increase. And if the number of dogs entering shelters increases, then so will the costs on the local government as well as taxpayers.
I encourage people to find out more about this bill and to also find out more about what puppy mills are. It is important to become aware of these issues. Please remember to adopt and not shop for your next family member and to pass this bill to protect them. Every Massachusetts resident has the ability to make a difference and the first step is by passing this bill.
Merrimack College student