St.2012, c.193 An Act Further Regulating Animal Control
Establishes the Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund with a voluntary check-off donation on income tax returns. Prohibits declaring a dog dangerous solely based on the breed of dog. Also regulates health certificates for dogs and cats brought into or sold in Mass, kennel licenses, nuisance and dangerous dogs, euthanasia, animal cruelty, protection for animals in domestic violence restraining orders and more.
St.2014, c.293 An Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety (PAWS Act)
, "Puppy Doe" Law. Increases penalties for animal abuse, and requires veterinarians to report suspected abuse.
MGL c.140, s.174E , Chaining or Tethering; Confinement
MGL c.272, s.77
MGL c.266, s.112
MGL c.272, s.80-1/2
Dog Bite Law
MGL c.140, s.155
Horses, Driving Near
MGL c. 90, s.14
MGL c.131, s.65A
Livestock Disease Control
MGL c.129, s.2
Shelters; Spay or Neuter Requirement
MGL c.140, s.139A
MGL c.140 s. 176
Trusts for the Care of Animals
MGL c.203E, s.408
330 CMR, Mass. Dept. of Food and Agriculture. Includes regulations about domestic animals in Massachusetts. Does not include hunting or wild or exotic animals.
321 CMR 2.12 Artificial Propagation of Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, and Amphibians
321 CMR 9 Exotic Pets Exemption List
Lists "species which are exempt from the licensing provisions of MGL c. 131, § 23 . This list includes wild (i.e., non-domesticated) vertebrate animals which may be imported, sold or possessed without a permit."
330 CMR 12.05 Massachusetts Pet "Lemon Law."
Provides, in part: "All licensees shall provide a substitution or a full refund of the purchase price of any dog or cat to any purchaser who: (a) within 14 calendar days of sale has the dog or cat examined by a licensed veterinarian of his or her choice, and the examination indicates the dog or cat is diseased or has a congenital disorder; and (b) presents the dog or cat, a veterinarian's written statement that the dog or cat is diseased or has a congenital disorder, and proof of sale within two business days of the date of the examination."
Importing Animals from Out of State for Shelter or Adoption
Emergency Order 1-AHO-05
Uniform Magistrate Rules: Rule 5: Petitions for Review of Dog Orders, Mass. Trial Court.
Commonwealth v. Epifania
, 80 Mass.App.Ct. 71 (2011)
Covers the history of ownership of cats and other pets in Massachusetts.
Commonwealth v. Fettes
, 64 Mass.App.Ct. 917 (2005)
A dog can be a dangerous weapon. "A dangerous weapon is 'any instrument or instrumentality so constructed or so used as to be likely to produce death or great bodily harm.' ...There can be little doubt that a dog . . . used for the purpose of intimidation or attack falls within this definition."
Commonwealth v. Santiago
, 452 Mass. 573 (2008)
Presence of pitbull alone is insufficient for no-knock warrant. "[T]he mere assertion that commonly known to be aggressive, would, standing alone, be insufficient to meet the probable cause standard."
Commonwealth v. Trefry
, 89 Mass. App. Ct. 568 (2016)
Keeping a dog in a filthy house and yard is a violation of G. L. c. 140, § 174E. "Subjecting a dog to cruel conditions suffices to establish a violation" of G. L. c. 140, § 174E; outside confinement or confinement in general is not an element required to convict under the statute.
Irwin v. Degtiarov
, 85 Mass. App. Ct. 234 (2014)
"Reasonable veterinary costs that are reasonably incurred can be recovered by the owner of an animal injured by a dog even if such costs exceed the market value or replacement cost of the animal."
Nutt v. Florio
, 75 Mass.App.Ct. 482 (2009)
Landlord's liability for bite by tenant's dog. A dog bite victim sued the landlord of the owner of the dog, a pit bull. The court stated that the pit bull is a breed "commonly known to be aggressive." "While the defendants may not be held strictly liable by virtue of Tiny's breed, knowledge of that breed and its propensities may properly be a factor to be considered in determining whether the defendants were negligent under common-law principles."
More Massachusetts Case Law
Chart of more Massachusetts case law compiled by Michigan State University College
- Animal Imports and Livestock Markets, Dept. of Agricultural Resources.
Summarizes import requirements for a wide variety of animals.
- Buying a Dog in Massachusetts, Dept. of Agricultural Resources.
Provides basic information on what you should know before buying a dog.
- Buying Pets
What to look for, and what to know about sellers' promises and buyers' responsibilities
- Dog Bites and Other Injuries
Lists commonsense steps to take to keep your dog from biting, and to avoid trouble if he does
- Every Dog's Legal Guide: A Must-Have Book for Your Owner
, Nolo, 2012.
A legal guide for dog owners and their neighbors which includes information on buying and selling dogs, barking dogs, dog bites and more. Requires Library Card for access .
- Flying With Dogs: The Not-So-Friendly Skies
Discusses problems, options, steps to take in preparing your pet for travel, and regulations governing pet travel
- Helping Your Clients Provide for Pets in Estate Plans
, Mass. Bar Association, 2006.
Detailed information on things to consider and appropriate documents.
- Orders Concerning Domesticated Animals in Conjunction With Restraining Orders : Memo from Chief Justice of the Trial Court and Court Administrator, October 31, 2012
Includes explanation of the law and procedures, with forms
- Preventing Conflicts with Beavers , Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
How to prevent beaver problems, and what to do if you have them
- Wildlife as Pets , Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Summary of Mass. laws pertaining to keeping wild or exotic pets.
- Animal Law , Jonathan S. Rankin, et al., MCLE, 2009
- Harris, Susan. "Woof, woof, we're getting a divorce" : pet custody and the law. v. 30 Issue 3 Massachusetts Family Law Journal 30 (May/June 2012)
Last update: June 29, 2016