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 20 different categories of animal protection.

Massachusetts
Overall Rank: #6 (Top Tier)

  • +Felony provisions for cruelty, neglect, fighting, abandonment, and sexual assault
  • +Mandatory post-conviction forfeiture
  • +Protection orders may include animals
  • -Standards for minimum acceptable care for animals (e.g. necessary food, water, shelter) are not well-defined
  • -No statutorily authorized sentencing to mental health evaluation or treatment

Take Action

Take action now to help animals in your state.

Massachusetts: Prevent Animal Suffering

Massachusetts: Prevent Animal Suffering

An Act Addressing Investigations of Reports of Animal Abuse and Neglect (S.2672) is an omnibus animal protection bill that includes provisions to protect animals in four ways.
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.
beagle

Massachusetts: Help Animals Used in Research

Ask your state legislators to provide an opportunity for dogs and cats used in research to find loving homes once their time in a research laboratory has come to an end by supporting An Act Protecting Research Animals.
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.
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.
elephant

Massachusetts: Help Wild Animals Exploited by Circuses

An Act Relative to the Use of Elephants, Big Cats, Primates, Giraffes, and Bears in Traveling Exhibits (H.3776/S.2251) would prohibit the use of certain animals in circuses and traveling shows in Massachusetts. Urge your legislators to support this bill.
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.
white-tailed deer

Massachusetts: Help Stop Illegal Hunting

An Act Further Regulating the Enforcement of Illegal Hunting Practices (H.4442) deters illegal hunting, trapping, and fishing in Massachusetts by modernizing penalties and entering the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
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

hen

Upgrading Standards for Hens Used by the Egg Industry (Massachusetts)

An Act to Upgrade Hen Welfare and Establish Uniform Cage-free Standards (S.2481)
Improves conditions for hens used by the egg industry 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
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

Judiciary ‘Minibus’ Animal Protection Bill (Massachusetts)

Judiciary ‘Minibus’ Animal Protection Bill (Massachusetts)

An Act Addressing Investigations of Reports of Animal Abuse and Neglect (S.2672)
Proposed omnibus bill includes provisions to prevent animal suffering in four ways.
mice

Promote Alternatives to Cosmetics and Product Testing on Animals (Massachusetts)

An Act Concerning the Use of Animals in Product Testing
Bill would require manufacturers and their contract testing facilities to use methods that replace animal testing of products and ingredients for cosmetics, household cleaners, and industrial chemicals.
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.
kittens

Protecting Puppies and Kittens (Massachusetts)

An Act Protecting the Health and Safety of Puppies and Kittens in Cities and Towns (H.2148/S.1322)
An Act Protecting the Health and Safety of Puppies and Kittens in Cities and Towns (H.2148/S.1322), known as the “Puppies and Kittens Bill,” would establish or update several critical protections for puppies, kittens, and their guardians.
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. 
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.901)
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.

Active Cases

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