Animal advocates lobby for stronger animal rights

Public hearings have yet to be scheduled for these bills

In this Feb. 10, 2017, frame from video, Tyson’s Place Animal Rescue founder Jill Bannink-Albrecht pets a cat at a shelter in Holland, Mich. Tyson’s Place focuses on pets whose owners have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or otherwise are unable to care for them. (AP Photo/Mike Householder)

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Pet owners are calling on lawmakers to expand protections for the state’s most vulnerable animals, including puppies, kittens and farm animals.

They may look and sound different from us, but pet owners told 22news, their pets are part of the family. They want lawmakers to do more to protect all animals in the home and on the farm.

Kara Holmquist, Director of Advocacy at the MSPCA said, “Animal abuse and human violence are very interconnected so a lot of the things that we can do to protect animals and report animal abuse can also end up benefiting humans, too.”

Approximately 200 animal advocates joined the MSPCA and Humane Society to urge lawmakers to support a bill to prohibit the sale of puppies and kittens under 8 weeks old, a practice of many large breeders. Studies show that removing newborns from their mothers too soon can lead to health and behavioral issues.

Leslie Luppino, of Pittsfield said, “Speaking out for animals is really important. They can’t speak for themselves.”

More than 40 lawmakers support a bill to expand existing penalties for animal cruelty to include farm animals, not just dogs and cats. This comes nearly a year after approximately 1,400 animals were rescued from a farm in Westport. Dogs, cows and horses, had inadequate food and water and many were diseased.

State Representative Angelo Puppolo, (D) Springfield told 22News these protections could also keep you safe. “Wither or not they’re going to go for production or not, I think they still need to be brought up in a clean, humane manner, not only for the animal’s benefit, but also, at the end, really for the consumer benefit, cause you don’t want to have disease spread.”

Public hearings have yet to be scheduled for these bills.

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