BOSTON (WWLP) - State lawmakers unanimously passed a bill that stiffens the penalties for cases of animal cruelty.
The PAWS Act would impose harsher penalties on people who abuse their pets. The bill was filed last year after a pit bull named “Puppy Doe” was found beaten, stabbed and even burned in Quincy.
“Their actions are going to be severely punished whether it’s fine, jail term or maybe a combination of both,” said State Representative Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton), who has filed animal protection bills in the past.
People who intentionally harm or kill animals could face up to seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The bill creates even harsher penalties for a second offense, which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.
If signed into law, veterinarians would be required to report suspected cases of animal abuse to police.
“Some veterinarians thought it was appropriate and others felt it was an intrusion so that was something that had been debated at length,” said State Senator Bob Hedlund (R-Weymouth).
Failure to report abuse could land vets in trouble with the Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine.
The PAWS Act is on the Governor’s desk for his signature. He is spending the week at his home in the Berkshires, but has ten days to sign the bill into law.