dog and cat

Animal Possession Ban (Massachusetts)

Massachusetts Bill: S.1037

Possession bans

are one of the most effective ways to ensure a person convicted of animal cruelty does not reoffend. These laws restrict an abuser’s access to animals, drastically limiting the pool of potential victims. Possession bans also help stem the high rates of recidivism associated with certain types of animal abuse.

An Act relative to the ownership of pets by convicted animal abusersS.2494 would prohibit a person convicted of animal cruelty crimes from possessing or exercising control over animals for at least five years after their release from custody. This bill was released with a favorable report by the Joint Committee on Judiciary as a redraft, based on  language filed by Representative Tram Nguyen (H.3772), Assistant Minority Leader of the House Brad Hill (H.1435), and Senator Dean Tran (S.1037). S.2494 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

Download the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s factsheet to learn more.

Download the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s factsheet to learn more.

Current Massachusetts law prohibits convicted animal abusers from working with animals. However, it only explicitly allows courts to prohibit owning or exercising control over animals after a conviction of animal sexual abuse.

S.2494 addresses this gap by extending the existing prohibition, which was established as part of the state’s comprehensive PAWS II Act, to other animal cruelty crimes such as torture, mutilation, and dogfighting.

Specifically, this upgrade would prevent a person convicted of animal cruelty crimes from harboring, owning, possessing, adopting, fostering, or exercising control over animals for at least five years. Courts would have the discretion to consider each case individually and extend the possession ban for any greater length of time deemed reasonable to protect animals.

Massachusetts residents: Take action to support the Massachusetts Possession Ban Bill.

Ask your state legislators to support a bill that would prohibit people convicted of animal abuse from possessing animals for at least five years after their release from custody.

Take Action

By helping prevent future cruelty to animals, possession bans help save local agencies and shelters resources (large-scale cruelty cases can cost hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars during lengthy trials). They also offer law enforcement officials an additional tool to monitor and quickly intervene to protect at-risk animals and prevent animal abuse in their communities.

Learn more about possession bans.