Massachusetts Gov Deval Patrick repeals BSL

Massachusetts: New state law will nullify cities’ BSL

With New Bedford Animal Control Officer Manny Maciel by his side today, Gov. Deval Patrick signed a new, broad-based animal control bill into law, that, among its many provisions, prevents the regulation of dogs based solely on breed.

Stating clearly that “No city or town shall regulate dogs in a manner that is specific to breed,” the legislation ends debate in New Bedford and elsewhere on whether pits bulls should be banned.
The law further states that “no dog shall be deemed dangerous … based upon the breed of such dog.”
Reports out of Lowell and Worcester, MA, indicate that the breed-specific ordinances in both cities—and by extension, any other MA city with BSL—will be nullified by the new MA state law when it goes into effect on October 31. The new state law prohibits municipalities from regulating dogs based on breed.

Many attorneys in MA seem to agree that MA “home rule” does not allow city ordinances to conflict with state law. Even if cities do not officially repeal their BSL, the laws will be preempted and nullified by the new state law when it goes into effect.

Jonathan S. Rankin, a Framingham-based lawyer and chairman of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Animal Law Practice Group, said the new law says communities can make additional ordinances as long as the language is not breed-specific.
Many thanks to the MSPCA for keeping us up to date. Visit their page to learn more about the many changes that this bill brings to Massachusetts: