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  • Acts
  • 2004
  • Chapter 319 AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE PENALTIES FOR KILLING, MAIMING OR POISONING AN ANIMAL.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. Chapter 119 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-

Section 85. (a) During any investigation or evaluation reported under section 51A, any employee of the department or person employed pursuant to a contract with the department, when acting in his professional capacity or within the scope of his or her employment, who has knowledge of or observes an animal whom he knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of animal cruelty, abuse or neglect, may report the known or suspected animal cruelty, abuse or neglect to the entities that investigate reports of animal cruelty, abuse or neglect, as described in section 57 of chapter 22C, or any local animal control authority.

(b) The report may be made within 2 working days of receiving the information concerning the animal, by facsimile transmission or a written report or by telephone. In cases where an immediate response may be necessary in order to protect the health and safety of the animal, the report should be made by telephone as soon as possible.

(c) When 2 or more employees of the department are present and jointly have knowledge of known or reasonably suspected animal cruelty, abuse or neglect, and where there is agreement among them, a report may be made by 1 person by mutual agreement. Any reporter who has knowledge that the person designated to report has failed to do so may thereafter make the report.

(d) No person making such report shall be liable in any civil or criminal action by reason of such report if it was made in good faith. Any privilege established by sections 135A and 135B of chapter 112 or by section 20B of chapter 233, relating to confidential communications, shall not prohibit the filing of a report pursuant to this section.

(e) Nothing in this section shall impose a duty on the department to investigate known or reasonably suspected animal cruelty, abuse or neglect.

(f) Nothing in this section shall prevent the department, area office or subdivision from entering into an agreement, contract or memorandum of understanding with the entities that investigate reports of animal cruelty, abuse or neglect as described in section 57 of chapter 22C, to require such reports or to engage in training in identification and reporting of animal abuse, cruelty and neglect.

SECTION 2. Section 47 of chapter 266 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2002 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the second sentence.

SECTION 3. Section 112 of said chapter 266, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 5 to 7, inclusive, the words "a fine of not more than one thousand dollars and imprisonment in jail for not more than one year" and inserting in place thereof the following words:- imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years or by a fine of not more than $2,500, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

SECTION 4. Section 77 of chapter 272 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 18 to 20, inclusive, the words "a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both" and inserting in place thereof the following words:- imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years or by a fine of not more than $2,500, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Approved August 19, 2004.