Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Hearing set for Massachusetts S969, to allow breed discriminatory laws on the state level

At the end of 2012, the Massachusetts legislature passed a comprehensive animal control act.  This new law contained a clause in it that subverted all breed discriminatory laws in Massachusetts, making breed discrimination illegal on the state level.

Boston officials were extremely unhappy with this clause and as a result immediately filed S969 which would create an exemption in the state law prohibiting breed discriminatory laws.  The language of the bill states that a municipality would be able to institute breed discriminatory laws if

a city or town deems a specific breed to be deemed dangerous through analysis of municipal attack data and by a majority vote of the city council with the approval of the mayor, in the case of a city with a Plan A, Plan B, or Plan F charter; by a majority vote of the city council, in the case of a city with a Plan C, Plan D, or Plan E charter; by a majority vote of the annual town meeting or a special meeting called for the purpose, in the case of a municipality with a town meeting form of government; or by a majority vote of the town council, in the case of a municipality with a town council form of government.”

The bill sets forth no clear rules for what constitutes proof in regards to data collection methods or data analysis.  The bills backers seem to want people to take their word on what they deem to be a “dangerous breed.”

Despite claims from the bills backers that they have data that would allow Boston an exemption under the proposed changes, no such data has ever been provided to any constituents that have made the request to see this data.

Pit Bulletin Legal News drafted a Freedom of Information Act Request, which can be viewed here, in an attempt to access the information that officials were relying on to make the determination that Boston should be allowed to re-institute their breed discriminatory ordinance.

This bill has been set for a hearing date.  The Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government is set to hear this bill on June 4th.

Massachusetts residents: Reach out to the members of the committee and your legislators to offer opposition to S969. All members of the committee are listed below. You can find you specific representatives here.

Senator Sal DiDomenico: Phone: 617-722-1650 Email: Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov

Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz: Phone: 617-722-1673 Email: Sonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.gov

Senator William Brownsberger: Phone: 617-722-1280 Email: William.Brownsberger@masenate.gov

Senator James Timilty: Phone: 617 722-1222 Email: James.Timilty@masenate.gov

Senator Barry Finegold: Phone: 617-722-1612 Email: Barry.Finegold@MASenate.gov

Senator Richard Ross: Phone: 617-722-1555 Email: Richard.Ross@masenate.gov

Rep. Sarah Peake: Phone: 617-722-2090 Email: Sarah.Peake@mahouse.gov

Rep. Gailanne Cariddi: Phone: 617-722-2450 Email: Gailanne.Cariddi@mahouse.gov

Rep. Thomas Stanley: Phone: 617-722-2230 Email: Thomas.Stanley@mahouse.gov

Rep. Sean Garballey: Phone: 617-722-2090 Email: Sean.Garballey@mahouse.gov

Rep. Rhonda Nymann: Phone: 617-722-2210 Email: Rhonda.Nyman@MAhouse.gov

Rep. Wayne Matewsky: Phone: 617-722-2090 Email: Wayne.Matewsky@mahouse.gov

Rep. Kevin Kuros: Phone: 617-722-2460 Email: Kevin.Kuros@mahouse.gov

Rep. Cleon Turner: Phone: 617-722-2090 Email: Cleon.Turner@mahouse.gov

Rep. Timothy Madden: Phone: 617-722-2810 Email: Timothy.Madden@mahouse.gov

Rep. David Rogers: Phone: 617-722-2400 Email: Dave.Rogers@mahouse.gov

Rep. Peter Durant: Phone: 617-722-2060 Email: Peter.Durant@mahouse.gov

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SD1247 filed to allow BSL in Massachusetts

Thanks to Bless the Bullys for passing along this information from Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners. The bill to allow municipalities to pass breed specific laws in Massachusetts now has an official number.  Senator Michael Rush has proposed Senate Docket 1247 in his priority package of bills for 2013.  This bill would allow an exemption from the prohibition on breed specific legislation if a municipality can prove through statistical analysis of there bite data that one breed of dog is biting more than another. No additional details are given as to who would be responsible for the analysis and how they would assign breed descriptors, though we can only assume it will be based off visual ID. Once it is “proven” that one breed poses more of a risk than another the ordinance must then go through the normal channels in order to be voted into law.

From the MFDC&RDO website:

The Mayor of Boston put forth statewide legislation to return to breed-specific legislation (BSL) in his priority package of bills that was released on January 15. The bill is being spearheaded by Councilor Rob Consalvo of Boston, though has been filed in the state legislature by State Senator Michael Rush.

Please contact both your state senator and state legislator and ask them NOT to co-sponsor SD 1247. The bill, text below, would allow cities and towns to enact ineffective breed-specific legislation. Even though it was initiated by Boston, the bill would allow BSL anywhere in the state.

If you live in Boston, this is especially important, as the Boston delegation (representative and senators who represent any part of Boston) will likely be heavily lobbied by Councilor Consalvo to sign on as co-sponsors.

– You can find your representatives here:
– All legislators can be reached at: 617-722-2000
– The state’s website is here.

The text of SD1247 has not been posted on the Massachusetts legislature website.  It should be added to the website shortly, and we will provide the information to track the progress of the bill.

Some communication has been received  from various legislators in Massachusetts indicating that this could go either way, so it is very important for people to continue contacting their representatives.

The following is copied text of SD1247

“SD 1247, An Act relative to Dangerous Dogs in Cities and Towns

SECTION 1. Subsection a of section 157 of chapter 140 of the General Laws, as appearing in section 31 of chapter 193 of the acts of 2012, is hereby amended by inserting in the first paragraph, after the word “dog” in clause ii, the following:-

Unless municipal attack data indicates a specific breed may be deemed dangerous.

SECTION 2. Subsection c of section 157, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting in the last paragraph, after the word “breed”, the following:-

Unless a city or town deems a specific breed to be deemed dangerous through analysis of municipal attack data and by a majority vote of the city council with the approval of the mayor, in the case of a city with a Plan A, Plan B, or Plan F charter; by a majority vote of the city council, in the case of a city with a Plan C, Plan D, or Plan E charter; by a majority vote of the annual town meeting or a special meeting called for the purpose, in the case of a municipality with a town meeting form of government; or by a majority vote of the town council, in the case of a municipality with a town council form of government.”

It has been brought to my attention that we had left off a credit for this posting initially. We are very sorry for having excluded that information and it has been fixed. We sincerely apologize.