Anti-animal abuse bill moves to Gov. Baker’s desk

BOSTON (WHDH) - A bill that furthers anti-animal abuse measures enacted in 2014 has been sent to Governor Charlie Baker’s desk after it received approval from the Massachusetts legislature on Thursday.

Lawmakers looking lessen acts of animal cruelty in the Bay State, approved Senate Bill 2646 Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety, also known as the PAWS Act, ensuring that abuse is reported, punishments are enforced and the seriousness of these crimes are known.

The bill will allow the the Department of Children and Families, Elder Affairs and Disabled Persons Protection Committee to report acts of abuse towards animals, while also increasing fines for violations of dog control laws.

PAWS II furthers the anti-abuse laws that were put in place following the discovery of extreme cruelty and abuse in the case of a dog that was stabbed, burned, cut and had bones broken. “The Puppy Doe” case led to the arrest of Radoslaw Czerkawski  who was recently sentenced to eight to ten years in prison of 12 counts of animal cruelty.

“Puppy Doe inspired me and many others to take strong legislative action to increase protections for animals and prevent animal cruelty and neglect. Animals deserve humane treatment and protections from those who would abuse them,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr who led lawmakers in adopting the bill.

The bill also adds animal crimes to the list of offenses that require a dangerousness hearing, double the hit and run penalty for an accident involving dogs and cats, as well as several other provisions.

“This long-overdue legislation is one of the most important steps Massachusetts has taken in years to systematically protect pets and wild animals against abuse, cruelty, and mistreatment,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka. “As a longtime advocate for the rights of animals and those who own them responsibly, I’m proud and relieved to see this language written into law.”

Senators gave initial approval of the bill unanimously in March.

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