The Massachusetts Legislature has passed animal welfare legislation that creates harsher punishments, along with increased financial penalties, against acts of animal cruelty.
Under Senate Bill 2345, An Act protecting animal welfare and safety, sponsored by State Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and co-sponsored by Diana, maximum penalties for animal cruelty convictions will be increased from five to seven years and the maximum fine will be increased from $2,500 to $5,000.
The bill also allows a penalty of up to 10 years and/or a fine of $10,000 for repeat convictions. Additionally, the bill requires veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse. The legislation creates a task force comprised of experts in law enforcement, animal protection, veterinary medicine and the law to systematically and comprehensively evaluate the state’s cruelty statutes to ensure continued progress.
The legislation is known as the “Puppy Doe” bill, in reference to an August 2013 incident in Quincy where a young dog was discovered starved, beaten, stabbed and burned in an area park.
“The horrific acts of cruelty inflicted upon Puppy Doe greatly concerned me and other animal lovers in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill in the Legislature. “This tragedy called for swift and comprehensive legislative action to prevent future animal cruelty and I want to thank Senator Tarr for his leadership in working to ensure the advancement of critical animal welfare legislation.”
The legislation will take effect 90 days after the Governor signs the bill into law.