Bill would require landlords and foreclosing owners to check units for abandoned animals
BOSTON—The Senate voted unanimously 39-0 in favor a bill sponsored by Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) that would protect animals and require landlords and foreclosing owners to inspect units for abandoned animals within three days of vacating a unit.
“This bill takes steps to ensure that animals are treated compassionately and do not suffer needlessly from mistreatment, neglect and abandonment,” said Senator Eldridge. “Animal cruelty is an incomprehensible act that can never be justified. This measure will prevent further harm to animals and make sure they aren’t hurt or injured when their owners vacate units.”
“We thank Sen. Eldridge for leadership to prevent abandoned animals from suffering and potential death. The bill will also clarify the laws to ensure that there is a mechanism for animals found left behind in properties to be cared for,” said Kara Holmquist, director of Advocacy for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – Angell Animal Medical Center.
“With this bill being passed, it will save many animals from the torture of being abandoned, starved and left to die,” said Lyn Gorka, a Marlborough resident who came up with the idea for the bill. “As a real estate agent, I see too many animals abandoned, and this is unacceptable. They are alone with no one checking on them and it is such a cruel act. This law will do so much in saving these animals. We are the voice and we need to protect our animals from irresponsible people that should be held accountable”
Under S942, An Act protecting abandoned animals in vacant properties if an abandoned animal is found the landlord or foreclosing owner would immediately be required to notify an animal control officer. The landlord or foreclosing owner would not be considered the owner or person having the charge or custody of the animal.
Over the last few years, the number of animals being abandoned after owners vacated their property has steadily risen. In Hudson, a two year old Labrador named Phantom was found dead after being left in a vacated home for weeks, spurring a call to action to file the legislation.
The bill will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.