The Massachusetts State Senate unanimously passed a bill on Monday that seeks to address animal abuse and neglect.

“An Act to prevent animal suffering and death” was sponsored by Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) and restricts dog tethering, prohibits leaving a dog outdoors during extreme weather conditions, and allows first responders and private citizens to rescue endangered animals locked in cars while penalizing the neglectful owner.
Montigny tells WBSM News that the bill came about due to the frustration felt by animal rights activists who have seen owners continually neglecting and abusing their pets. 
"I worked over the years with local and statewide animal advocates who are sick and tired of trying to educate against stupidity," said Montigny "I mean people regularly leave their animals in hot and cold cars, or they tether them inhumanely, it's just very frustrating." 
The bill prohibits people from leaving their pets in a car when the temperatures could risk the animal's health and safety.
Those who violate this provision could face up to $500 in penalties or criminal animal cruelty charges in the most egregious cases.
Montigny says the bill also includes protections for good Samaritans who intervene by, for example smashing a window to get an animal out.
However, they must follow certain procedures.
"If a reasonable person witnesses an animal who's in eminent danger, they have the right to rescue the animal," said Montigny "now there are very tight restrictions, you have to call 911 to report that you're about to do that, but you don't have to wait because waiting means the animal dies." 
Owners would also be prohibited from leaving a dog outdoors during harsh weather conditions such as extreme hot or cold temperatures, heavy rain and blizzard conditions. 
The act also doesn't allow dogs to be chained or tethered outside for more than 5 hours per day or between 10PM and 6AM for longer than 15 minutes. 
Those who violate these provisions can face penalties up to $500 or lose ownership to protect the dog. 
Montigny hopes that just by passing the bill, it will raise awareness of the need to protect animals.
"The more education you can do beforehand, the less likely the pets will be put in peril in the first place," said Montigny "so just passage of the bill helps with that effort."
The bill is now heading to the House of Representatives for further consideration. 

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