By Bob Katzen

The Senate approved and sent to the House legislation designed to protect the health and safety of puppies and kittens in cities and towns by addressing inhumane practices relating to the transfer of pets.

Provisions include prohibiting the sale of puppies and kittens under eight weeks of age; ending the sale of animals on roadsides, parking lots, flea markets or in other public spaces; and requiring the Department of Agricultural Resources to establish reasonable rules and regulations for the operation of breeding kennels and catteries producing pets for the public as well as boarding kennels and daycare facilities for dogs and cats.

“Separating puppies and kittens at a critical stage from their mother and litter before the end of their primary socialization developmental stage can result in significant behavioral problems, including separation anxiety and aggression,” said Senate sponsor Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester). “This bill has the potential to truly protect the wellbeing of puppies and kittens in the commonwealth, who will otherwise suffer without clear, mandatory regulations on their purchase, storage and caretaking.”

“As the owner of a Labrador Retriever and a cat, and as a veteran who has observed the important work that animals do to assist the young and the old when we are in crisis and need, I know firsthand that our animal companions play a central role in our lives—and promoting their well-being protects both pets and people,” said House sponsor Rep. Linda Dean Campbell. “By ensuring kennels meet safety standards and preventing the dangerous sale of pets that are too young, we will reduce the risk of aggressive behavior that can put dogs, cats and people at risk.”

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