By Bob Katzen

The House gave initial approval to legislation that would amend current law which imposes up to a 7-year prison sentence and/or $5,000 fine for a first offense of animal cruelty and a 10-year prison sentence and/or $10,000 fine for a second offense.

The bill leaves the prison sentences as they are but raises the fines to $5,500 for a first offense and $11,000 for subsequent offenses. It also creates a special account where up to $500 for a first offense and up to $1,000 for subsequent offenses would go to fund improvements to animal shelters in the city or town in which the violations occurred.

“Massachusetts has some of the strongest penalties in the country for animal cruelty, but this bill cracks down even further,” said sponsor Rep. Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy). “It places the financial burden of improving animal shelters on the backs of those who violate the law.”

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