Massachusetts animal anti-cruelty law in effect as outside temperatures soar

As outdoor temperatures are set to soar this week, Senator Mark Montigny is reminding the public of his state law to prevent animal abuse and suffering.  The law, authored by Montigny in 2016, restricts dog tethering, prohibits leaving a dog outdoors during extreme weather conditions, and allows first responders and private citizens to rescue endangered animals left locked in cars.

An Act preventing animal suffering and death prohibits leaving a dog outside when a weather advisory, warning or watch is issued or when outside environmental conditions, such as extreme heat, pose an adverse risk to the health or safety of the dog based on the dog’s breed, age or physical condition. The law also prohibits leaving a pet inside a vehicle when temperatures could endanger the animal’s health or safety. In such circumstances, a private citizen encountering an animal in distress can call 911 and then break the window whenever necessary to protect the animal’s safety. First responders can also break the window to rescue the animal.

According to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Massachusetts is set to experience a prolonged period of oppressive heat and humidity this week. The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory, covering Greater New Bedford, that will be in effect through Wednesday at 7PM. Pet owners are reminded to keep their animal companions cool and hydrated and to simply leave them safe at home whenever venturing out to the store or to conduct other errands.

“Pets provide us with endless amounts of love and affection,” said Senator Montigny, lead sponsor of the law.  “We have a responsibility to shield them from abusive conditions and ensure no innocent animal is left outside in extreme heat or within a hot car. Pets are part of our families, and it is extremely important that we keep our entire family safe during this oppressive heat wave. If you need to, break the window in order to save a life.”

The full text of Montigny’s law can be found here:

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