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The Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety (PAWS)

The act protecting animal welfare
Senator Bruce Tarr, Facebook

Today, The Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety (PAWS) is being discussed by the Massachusetts Legislature's Judiciary Committee. The objective is to create a statewide registry for people convicted of animal abuse AND increase penalties and fines for egregious crimes against animals.

The Boston Herald reports that the Bill has been prompted by last year's heinous crime against a young dog nicknamed "Puppy Doe," who was maliciously stabbed in the eye, beaten, burned, and had her tongue split in two reminiscent of a serpent. Senate Republican leader Bruce Tarr introduced the Bill in hopes of strengthening legislation aimed at protecting defenseless animals from monsters like Puppy Doe's abuser. If effective this legislation could be used as a model for other states.

Senator Bruce Tarr posted the following comment on his Facebook page:

“News that a long awaited public hearing for the PAWS Act has been scheduled is indeed good. Sadly the heinous crimes against Puppy Doe, a dog who was left beaten, battered, and alone in a Quincy Park, is far from the first animal to be cruelly tortured. Multiple examples exist across the Commonwealth, and now is the time for the legislature to act swiftly to take action against those who commit such heinous crimes."

PAWS will allocate money for the treatment of abused and tortured animals, establish a commission to review cases of animal abuse and the effectiveness of the law, and use the registry as a reference to animal shelters, pet stores, and breeders. Much like laws requiring doctors to report suspected child abuse, this legislation would require veterinarians to speak-up and report abusers.

Fines and punishments for serious offenses will increase to a MAXIMUM five year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. Is this enough? Should an equally heinous crime against defenseless pets be treated any different by law than the same level of violence unleashed on a child? Is it the violent crime that defines the punishment or the current rights of the victim recognized by law? Regardless of whom the violence and cruelty is directed at, we are in the presence of a very sick, very evil, vile, dangerous individual.

Today's animal abusers are reminiscent of the mythical Werewolf. Today a puppy, tomorrow your children, the disabled and elderly. A monster is a monster is a monster. You don't know, they don't know when the next impulse to torture and abuse another will take over. Whether the next unfortunate, innocent soul happens to be the neighborhood cats, their girlfriend's children, your parents, or a young woman walking alone at night in a parking garage, it's the same sick mind at work. They see an opportunity to deceive, torture and maim another. They live for those opportunities.

Releasing the lunatics again and again, unleashing their wrath crime after crime, has been done for centuries and from this we've learned that you can't fix evil, sick minds. Releasing sociopaths back into the mix puts targets on another round of good, kind people and animals. How many more Puppy Doe's must suffer before we stop cutting them loose?

We must celebrate each baby-step along the way to victory. Please take the time to thank Senator Tarr for taking a stand for the voiceless. It takes a strong, confident, determined person to fight for the underdog, especially when political careers are built with the almighty dollar. It isn't often we get a true superhero voted into Congress willing to go against the grain, dismiss the status quo to make a true positive difference in the world.

A copy of the proposed legislation can be found here:

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