Massachusetts

Updates about legal issues facing animals in the state

The Animal Legal Defense Fund works at the federal, state and local levels to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals. This page is meant to be used as a resource to see what is happening in your state and what actions you can take for animals.

State Rankings

Each year, the Animal Legal Defense Fund publishes its U.S. State Animal Protection Laws Rankings Report. It is the longest-running and most authoritative of its kind, assessing the strength of each state’s animal protection laws by examining over 3,400 pages of statutes. Each state is ranked based on 19 different categories of animal protection.

Massachusetts
Overall Rank: #6 (Top Tier)

Take Action

Take action now to help animals in your state.

kittens

Massachusetts: Protect Puppies and Kittens

An Act Protecting the Health and Safety of Puppies and Kittens in Cities and Towns, would protect animals and consumers by banning the sale of puppies and kittens under 8 weeks of age; prohibiting the sale of animals in parking lots, flea markets, and similar venues; and updating rules governing commercial kennels, among other improvements.
dog

Massachusetts: Help Dogs Stay with Their Families

An Act to Maintain Stable Housing for Families with Pets in an Economic Crisis and Beyond (H.1437/S.885) would help ensure that companion animals and their families can stay together both during and after the pandemic.
eagle

Massachusetts: Ask Your State Representative to Help Protect Animals from Rat Poisons

An Act relative to pesticides (H.3991) would restrict the use of rat poisons (rodenticides) in Massachusetts by mandating an approach to human-animal encounters that minimizes risks to humans, wild animals, and the environment on public lands. Urge your legislators to support this bill.
hen

Massachusetts: Urge Your State Legislators to Protect the Welfare of Egg-Laying Hens

An Act to upgrade hen welfare and establish uniform cage-free standards (S.2481) mandates enriched cage-free conditions for egg-laying hens and expands the application of this standard to even more hens whose eggs are sold in the Commonwealth. It already passed the Senate and is now before the House. Urge your representative to support this bill.
dog

Massachusetts: Keep Animals Away from Abusers

An Act Relative to Protecting Animals From Abusers (H.1824/S.1111) would prohibit a person convicted of certain animal cruelty crimes — including torture, mutilation, and dogfighting — from possessing, adopting, or fostering an animal for at least five years.
cat

Massachusetts: Help Protect Animals from Cruel Conditions

An Act Enhancing the Issuance of Citations for Cruel Conditions for Animals (H.1840/S.1097) would allow law enforcement officers to issue civil citations to people who keep domestic animals, including cats, rabbits, farmed animals, in cruel conditions, allowing intervention before circumstances escalate. Urge your legislators to support this bill.
white-tailed deer

Massachusetts: Help Stop Illegal Hunting

An Act Further Regulating the Enforcement of Illegal Hunting Practices (H.904/S.587) deters illegal hunting, trapping, and fishing in Massachusetts by modernizing penalties and entering the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. Urge your legislators to support this bill.
Massachusetts: Ask Your State Legislators to Ban Fur Sales

Massachusetts: Ask Your State Legislators to Ban Fur Sales

An Act Prohibiting the Sale of Fur Products (H.965/S.623) would ban the sale of new fur products, including clothing, fashion accessories, and home décor, in the Commonwealth. Urge your legislators to support this bill.
cow

Stop Ag-Gag Laws

Undercover investigations and whistleblowers have exposed some of the worst aspects of factory farming, but Ag-Gag laws punish people who speak out about cruelty in animal agriculture. Voice your opposition.
dog

No More Puppy Mills

Puppy mill operators maximize their profits by producing large numbers of puppies as quickly as possible. As a result, unsanitary conditions, disease, and neglect are rampant. Sign our pledge to boycott puppy mills. Together we can end cruel puppy mills.
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals

Want to take the next step in your animal advocacy? Learn the skills you need to pass laws protecting animals at the local level! Local laws are critical – not only do they help individual animals in your community but prime state legislation.
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Prohibiting Circuses and Traveling Shows that Exploit Animals

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Prohibiting Circuses and Traveling Shows that Exploit Animals

Learn how wild animals are exploited in circuses and traveling shows, and how you can help!
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Fur Bans

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Fur Bans

Learn how to fight back against the cruel fur industry by passing a fur ban in your community! Led by Animal Legal Defense Fund Campaigns Manager Elizabeth Holtz, this webinar will walk you through the mechanics of fur production, the policy issues, including animal cruelty, environmental impacts, and public health, and more.

Recent Victories

cat and dog

Funding Critical Animal Health Services In Massachusetts FY2021 State Budget

State Budget Allocates Funds for Spay, Neuter, and Vaccination Services
Governor signs state budget allocating $50k to provide critical animal health services to animals in need.
cat

Funding Critical Health Services for Animals In Need (Massachusetts)

State Budget Allocates Funds for Spay, Neuter, and Vaccination Services
Governor signs state budget allocating funds to provide critical animal health services—including spay and neuter surgeries and vaccinations—to animals in need.
fox

Ending Killing Contests in Massachusetts

In 2019, Massachusetts adopted regulations banning killing contests for certain animals, including coyotes, foxes, and bobcats.

Active Legislation

dog

Ensure That Dogs and Their Families Can Stay Together (Massachusetts)

An Act to Maintain Stable Housing for Families with Pets in an Economic Crisis and Beyond (H.1437/S.885)
Extends housing protections for families with companion animals during the COVID-19 emergency and prevents breed-related discrimination in housing and property insurance.
eagle

Protecting Animals from Rat Poisons (Massachusetts)

An Act relative to pesticides (H.3991)
An Act relative to pesticides (H.3991) would decrease the use of rat poisons in Massachusetts by mandating the use of “Integrated Pest Management” (IPM) plans on public lands and publicly-owned property. 
hen

Upgrading Standards for Egg-Laying Hens (Massachusetts)

An Act to Upgrade Hen Welfare and Establish Uniform Cage-free Standards (S.2481)
Improves conditions for egg-laying hens by mandating that they be able to engage in certain vital natural and expands coverage to hens whose eggs are used for egg products commonly used by cafeterias and fast food chains
lion

Protecting Animals Used in Circuses (Massachusetts)

An Act Relative to the Use of Elephants, Big Cats, Primates, and Bears in Traveling Exhibits (H.3376/S.2251)
Prohibits the use of certain wild animals in circuses and traveling shows in Massachusetts.
beagles

Facilitating the Adoption of Dogs and Cats Retired from Laboratories (Massachusetts)

An Act Protecting Research Animals (H.890/H.901/S.613)
Requires dogs and cats at research institutions or product testing facilities be offered for adoption through a non-profit animal shelter or rescue or through private placement once the research ends, if a necropsy is not mandated
rhino

Halting Trafficking in Ivory and Rhino Horn (Massachusetts)

An Act Preventing Trafficking in Ivory and Rhino Horns (S.576/H.903)
Restricts the sale of ivory and rhino horn in Massachusetts.
Banning the Sale of Fur (Massachusetts)

Banning the Sale of Fur (Massachusetts)

An Act Prohibiting the Sale of Fur Products (H.965/S.623)
Bans the sale of new fur products, including clothing, fashion accessories, and home décor, in the Commonwealth
deer

Preventing Convicted Wildlife Poachers from Hunting in Massachusetts (Massachusetts)

An Act Further Regulating the Enforcement of Illegal Hunting Practices (H.904/S.587)
Modernizes penalties for illegal hunting and enters Massachusetts in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact

Active Cases

No results found.

Massachusetts is considering a number of significant animal protection bills this legislative session. Read more about our initiatives in the state here: