Massachusetts joins the ranks of states with breed-specific legislation (BSL) preemptions

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed an historic, comprehensive overhaul of the state’s animal control regulation on Thursday, August 2, 2012.[1] Among the important reforms included in the bill are provisions that a dog may not be declared dangerous solely on the basis of breed, and that no city or town can regulate dogs in a manner that is specific as to breed.

In signing the bill into law, Massachusetts becomes the 13th state barring localities from enacting breed specific regulation.

The ineffectiveness of breed specific legislation (BSL) is increasingly apparent.[2] The Massachusetts legislature and Governor Patrick have made their intentions clear.  Community safety is not served by knee-jerk, panic policy making.

The measure also establishes a Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund, intended to offset costs associated with vaccinating, spaying and neutering homeless dogs and cats, as well as animals owned by low-income Massachusetts residents.  Revenue for this initiative will come from a voluntary check-off donation on annual state income tax returns, and from gifts, grants, and donations.


[1] Source: Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Senate Bill No. 02192. (2012) \

[2] Also see the following NCRC whitepapers: “Worldwide Failure of Breed-specific Legislation” and “Winnipeg, Manitoba far behind Calgary in community safety”.