On Wednesday, Aug. 24, in a ceremony at the State House, Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill that will ensure animals can be rescued from hot cars, limits the time dogs spend on a tether and increases enforcement of existing prohibitions on keeping dogs in cruel conditions. The new law will take effect on Nov. 17.
S.2369, an Act Preventing Animal Suffering and Death, gives animal control officers, law enforcement officers and firefighters authority to remove an animal and cite the owner when conditions in a car are expected to threaten the health of the animal due to extreme heat or cold. The new law will also prohibit dog tethering between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and when a weather advisory or warning has been issued. Tethering is permitted during these hours for less than 15 minutes and only if the dog is not left unattended.
Under S.2369, special police officers from the MSPCA and the Animal Rescue League of Boston will be able to enforce existing prohibitions on keeping dogs in cruel conditions, such as exposure to excessive animal waste, garbage, dirty water, noxious odors and other potentially dangerous circumstances. This provision offers greater protection for dogs by permitting these law enforcement officers to issue financial citations when verbal warnings are not effective.
“We thank the governor for signing this bill and the many legislators who worked to make this new law possible.” said Kara Holmquist, director of advocacy for the MSPCA. "The governor’s signing of this bill into law will help maintain Massachusetts as a leader on animal protection and will have a significant impact on animals in our state.”