Breed-specific legislation is now prohibited in Massachusetts

Congrats to Kara Holmquist at the MSPCA and all the other animal advocacy groups that worked on this, and thanks to Senator Pat Jehlen, the Massachusetts legislature and Governor Patrick. This morning, at the MSPCA-Angell facility in Ashland, the governor signed An Act Further Regulating Municipal Animal Control. This law does a lot of really great things, but the part that means the most to me is the part that says “No city or town shall regulate dogs in a manner that is specific to breed.” It remains to be seen how this will play out in Boston (I guess I need to brush up on how home rule works), where there are strict regulations on my dog simply because he looks to be a particular breed, but I am really glad that owners in other cities and towns won’t have to deal with the thing that has caused me so much consternation in the 8 years since it went into effect, just months after I adopted Charlie Ashmont. For those who are curious, the things I have to do that other owners don’t are: 1) pay $50 for a dog license that should cost $6; 2) send a picture of MYSELF and my dog to City Hall every year with my license app; 3) put a sign on my property that says “pitbull on premises”; 4) muzzle Charlie at all times when he’s off my property. (There are other pieces I have no problem with, such as spay/neuter and limiting the number of pits one person can own, but I don’t think those should be breed-specific either.)

 

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