By Bob Katzen
Stuck in the Bills in Third Reading Committee since approved by the House on Dec. 30, 2021, is a bill that would amend current law that 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.
“Animal cruelty laws in Massachusetts are strong, but not strong enough,” said sponsor Rep. Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy). “ We need to set a stronger precedent that animal cruelty will not be tolerated. The additional funds generated through this bill will help subsidize much-needed improvements to animal shelters across Massachusetts, putting the financial burden on the backs of those who violate the law. Addressing the inaction on the bill for the past five months, Ayers said he’s confident on the merits of this bill and feels that it will continue through the legislative process.”