BOSTON — Senate Assistant Majority Leader and Rules Committee Chairman Mark C. Montigny (D-New Bedford) is pleased to announce that Governor Baker signed legislation this afternoon that will enhance the humane treatment of animals and prevent cruelty.

The bill, known as “PAWS II”, is now law following weeks of negotiations spearheaded by Conference Committee Chairman, Senator Montigny.

PAWS II furthers anti-abuse measures first secured in the 2014 Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety bill inspired by the egregious brutality uncovered in the Puppy Doe case. In that case, “puppy doe” suffered broken bones, stab wounds, and severe burns. Radoslaw Czerkawski was convicted in March 2018 and sentenced to 8 to 10 years in prison.

“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 cosponsor of the original, bipartisan bill, Mark Montigny.

Key provisions in PAWS II include the following:

Doubles the hit and run penalty for an accident involving dogs & cats - From $50 to$100 for a first offense - $500 for subsequent offences and the cost of medical expenses up to $2500, and or imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than 6 months.

Expands abuse reporting - Permits animal abuse to be reported by Department of Children and Families, the Department of Elder Affairs, and Disabled Persons Protection Commission employees. Adds animal control officers as mandatory reporters of child abuse, elder abuse, and abuse against disabled persons.

Requires abandoned animal checks in vacant properties - Property owners and landlords must check property for abandoned animals within three days following a foreclosure or termination of tenancy.

Ensures efficient enforcement of animal control laws - Increases fines for violations of dog control laws up to $500 for a fourth offence.

Prohibits the drowning of animals - Declares that drowning of animals is a violation of animal cruelty law for non-licensed trappers or those registered with Fish and Wildlife

Prohibits engaging in sexual contact with an animal.

Removes automatic killing of animals involved in animal fighting - Removes a requirement to automatically kill animals involved in animal fighting. Animals will instead be evaluated individually for adoption if appropriate.

Adds animal crimes to the list of offenses that serve as the basis for a request for a dangerousness hearing.

Examines options to prohibit discrimination against specific dog breeds - Requires insurance companies to collect and report data of dog related incidents.

Office Of Senator Mark Montigny