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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT PREVENTING ANIMAL SUFFERING AND DEATH

     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.  Section 174E of chapter 140 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 2 to 4, inclusive, the  words “to a stationary object including, but not limited to, a structure, dog house, pole or tree for longer than 24 consecutive hours” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- for longer than 5 hours in a 24-hour period and outside from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., unless the tethering is for not more than 15 minutes and the dog is not left unattended by the owner, guardian or keeper.
     SECTION 2.  Said section 174E of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out subsection (d) and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-
     (d)  A person shall not leave a dog outside when a weather advisory, warning or watch is issued by a local, state or federal authority or when outside environmental conditions including, but not limited to, extreme heat, cold, wind, rain, snow or hail pose an adverse risk to the health or safety of the dog based on the dog's breed, age or physical condition, unless the tethering is for not more than 15 minutes.
     SECTION 3.  Said section 174E of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out subsection (e) and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-
     (e)  An exception to a restriction on outdoor confinement under this section that is reasonably necessary for the safety of a dog shall be made for a dog that is: (i) present in a camping or recreational area pursuant to the policy of the camping or recreational area; or (ii) actively engaged in conduct that is directly related to the business of shepherding or herding cattle or other livestock or engaged in conduct that is directly related to the business of cultivating agricultural products.
     SECTION 4.  Said section 174E of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 87, the figure “$100” and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- $200.
     SECTION 5.  Said section 174E of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 89, the figure “$300” and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- $500.
     SECTION 6.  Said section 174E of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “owner’s”, in line 90, the following word:- , keeper’s.
     SECTION 7.  Said section 174E of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by adding the following subsection:-
     (h)  A special police officer appointed by the colonel of the state police at the request of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Animal Rescue League of Boston under section 57 of chapter 22C may enforce this section following the same procedures relating to notice and court procedure in section 21D of chapter 40 for the non-criminal disposition of a violation, if an animal control officer contacted by either of these agencies in response to a violation of this section is unresponsive or unavailable. 
     SECTION 8.  Said chapter 140 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 174E the following section:-
     Section 174F.  (a) A person shall not confine an animal in a motor vehicle in a manner that could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal due to exposure to extreme heat or cold.
     (b)  After making reasonable efforts to locate a motor vehicle’s owner, an animal control officer, as defined in section 136A, law enforcement officer or fire fighter may enter a motor vehicle by any reasonable means to protect the health and safety of an animal.  An animal control officer, law enforcement officer or fire fighter may enter the motor vehicle for the sole purpose of assisting the animal and may not search the vehicle or seize items found in the vehicle unless otherwise permitted by law.
     (c)  An animal control officer, law enforcement officer or fire fighter who removes or otherwise retrieves an animal under this section shall leave written notice in a secure and conspicuous location on or in the motor vehicle bearing the officer's or fire fighter’s name and title and the address of the location where the animal may be retrieved. The owner may retrieve the animal only after payment of all charges that have accrued for the maintenance, care, medical treatment and impoundment of the animal.
     (d)  An animal control officer, law enforcement officer or fire fighter who removes or otherwise retrieves an animal from a motor vehicle under subsection (b), and the agency or municipality that employs the officer or fire fighter shall be immune from criminal or civil liability that might otherwise result from the removal.
     (e)  After making reasonable efforts to locate a motor vehicle’s owner,  a person other than an animal control officer, law enforcement officer or fire fighter shall not enter a motor vehicle to remove an animal to protect the health and safety of that animal in immediate danger unless the person: (i) notifies law enforcement or calls 911 before entering the vehicle; (ii) determines that the motor vehicle is locked or there is no other reasonable means for exit and uses not more force than reasonably necessary to enter the motor vehicle and remove the animal; (iii) has a good faith and reasonable belief, based upon known circumstances, that entry into the vehicle is reasonably necessary to prevent imminent danger or harm to the animal; and (iv) remains with the animal in a safe location in reasonable proximity to the vehicle until law enforcement or another first responder arrives.
     (f)  A person who removes an animal from a motor vehicle pursuant to subsection (e) shall be immune from criminal or civil liability that might otherwise result from the removal.
     (g)  A violation of subsection (a) shall be a civil infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $150 for a first offense, by a fine of not more than $300 for a second offense and by a fine of not more than $500 for a third or subsequent offense.
     (h)  Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under section 77 of chapter 272.

Approved, August 19, 2016