Animal rights bills target pet safety, illegal hunting

BOSTON (WWLP) — Frequent severe weather in western Massachusetts has pet owners pitching a bill that would require cities and towns to include accommodations for pets in their disaster planning efforts.

“You know people who won’t evacuate because of their animals, I know I would probably be one of those,” said Jennifer Holmes of Belchertown. “I’ve had a cat who needed medication on a daily basis so I know I could not leave him without endangering his life even more.”

The pet owner disaster plan legislation is one of a handful of bills that hundreds of animal lovers are advocating for at the annual lobby day for animals on Beacon Hill.  Monica Webb lives by the Beartown State Forest in the Berkshires.  She hopes to prevent illegal hunters from getting hunting permits in New England state parks.

“I do fairly regularly hear gun shots within the state forest on Sundays and we don’t actually have hunting that’s legal on Sundays,” said Webb.

Animal advocates are also fighting to ban the extreme confinement of farm animals. Such factory farm practices are not known to take place in Massachusetts and animal advocates want to keep it that way.

“We can show that we are an example of a place where you can be successful in this industry without engaging in those damaging practices to animals.  If we can serve as a positive role model for other communities and other states, then that would be fantastic,” said Melissa Salva of Northampton.

Animal advocates are also opposing a bill that would allow cities and towns to restrict certain breeds of dogs considered by some to be dangerous, like pit bulls. 

Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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