July 25, 2022

Intrusive Kennel Bill Passes Massachusetts Senate

Contact: Joe Bachar, New England States Coordinator

Why it Matters: Dogs play an integral role in many of our nation’s sporting pursuits. From hunting-related traditions, such as tracking big game, pointing, flushing, and retrieving downed fowl, to competing in a variety of field trials across the country, our four-legged friends play an irreplaceable part in field activities. Therefore, requiring local licensing authorities to place restrictions on the number of dogs that may be owned is in fact curbing these pursuits. Many households include hunting and non-hunting dogs alike, all falling within under the same roof with one another, and this legislation would do nothing but add additional financial burdens to these dog owners and open them up to unnecessary inspections.  

Since previously reported, Senate Bill 1322 in Massachusetts was replaced with Senate Bill 2994 and passed through the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. Like its previous iteration, S. 2994 would result in comprehensive changes to dog daycare facilities, along with profound impacts on “commercial boarding and training kennels” and “personal kennels” thereby negatively affecting those who hunt and participate in field trials. S. 2994 increases the proposed licensure requirement for “personal kennels” from four dogs to five, subjecting non-commercial dog owners to municipal licensure requirements and mandatory kennel inspections. On July 21, CSF submitted a letter of opposition to the House Committee on Ways and Means and has been working alongside the American Kennel Club (AKC) in opposing this bill.

Under current law, municipalities are authorized to issue a personal kennel license to anyone owning four or more dogs in addition to the licenses for each individual dog. If enacted, S. 2994 would require municipalities to issue these licenses and conduct annual inspections but provides no source of funding for implementation.

Additional licensure requirements and compliance costs will place a financial barrier upon individuals who want to take part in legal sporting activities. Requiring sportsmen and women to maintain the same standards as commercial kennels will undoubtedly result in costs that will be felt more heavily by individuals than commercial entities. CSF will continue to work alongside the AKC and the Massachusetts Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus in opposing this legislation. Additional updates on will be provided as they are made available.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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