MASSACHUSETTS BILL PASSED TO PROTECT SERVICE ANIMALS

By Bob Katzen

This bill makes a person who uses an assistance animal eligible for victim compensation if his or her animal is injured or killed by a person. The compensation would include veterinary medical expenses and the replacement cost of an equally trained assistance animal if the animal dies or is too injured to return to work.

Sponsor Sen. Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) tells the story of a constituent who was living with lupus and multiple sclerosis and relied on her service dog Alex to provide physical stability, identify warning signs of an oncoming seizure and many other physical tasks. Alex was poisoned by a neighbor to the tune of $3,000 in veterinarian bills.

“Service animals play an essential role in the lives of their companions and must be protected from malicious action,” said Ross. “I filed this legislation to provide a small measure of relief for individuals who may be suffering due to injury or death of their service animal. My hope is to reduce the burden on service animal owners and their families during such a trying time.”

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