By Bob Katzen

The House 151-0, Senate 37-0, approved and the governor signed into law legislation designed to protect cats and dogs. Provisions double the hit and run penalty for an accident involving cats and dogs; permit animal abuse to be reported by Department of Children and Families, the Department of Elder Affairs and Disabled Persons Protection Commission employees; and add animal control officers as mandatory reporters of child abuse, elder abuse and abuse against disabled persons.

Other provisions require property owners and landlords to check their property for abandoned animals within three days following a foreclosure or termination of tenancy; prohibit the drowning of animals; remove the automatic killing of animals involved in animal fighting and instead provides that animals be evaluated individually for adoption if appropriate.

“Our commitment towards ending the cruel and inhumane treatment of innocent animals is steadfast, and with this legislation we have taken significant action to protect their safety and welfare,” said Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), co-sponsor of the original bill. “There is zero tolerance for such despicable brutality.”

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