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It’s Raining Cats and Dogs (Bills) in Massachusetts


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While most states’ legislatures are out of session, things in Massachusetts are just heating up. In the last three weeks, several bills were considered by the state’s Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government. 

Of the bills, two passed out of committee: SB 1155 and HB 3212. SB 1155 adds significant burden to stores and breeders, risks the survival of Massachusetts’ pet stores, and does nothing to improve oversight of rescues and shelters. Conversely, HB 3212 provides consistent regulation across the state and improves standards for stores, breeders, shelters and rescues.

Along with our store members in Massachusetts, PIJAC is working hard to ensure that Massachusetts’ pet lovers are able to have the healthy pet of their choice. This is why, as reported earlier this week by Pet Product News, we drew attention to the projected closure of Petco’s store in Cambridge, Mass. 

As readers may remember, in August, Cambridge banned the sales of almost all companion animals from stores. Cambridge Vice-Mayor Marc McGovern told state lawmakers in October that Petco was planning to expand operations despite the ban—a claim that was proven incorrect when Petco announced that the ban was forcing the store’s closure at the beginning of 2018.

Petco, PIJAC and other industry groups cautioned Cambridge that the ordinance would risk jobs and pet lovers’ access to the pet of their choice. We now know those warnings were prescient. PIJAC continues to be confident that state lawmakers will see that treating pet stores as opponents of pet care instead of as the most highly regulated partners in care will result in worse options for their constituents. It will also lower the quality of care for cats and dogs across the state, and risk jobs for those who care for and about pets every day.


Robert Likins is the director of government affairs for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC). PIJAC is the legislative and advocacy voice for the responsible pet trade.

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