Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Senior Coordinator
On May 1, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) joined the American Kennel Club in submitting a sign-on letter of opposition against two restrictive bills in Massachusetts that would negatively impact hunting dog owners. The letter has been submitted to the respective Committee Chairs for their consideration during the upcoming Executive Sessions.
Giving no consideration to exigent circumstances, House Bill 1822 (HB 1822) and Senate Bill 989 (SB 989) would restrict a dog owner’s ability to utilize a fenced-in yard or kennel for longer than 5 hours, while also barring an individual from keeping the dog outside from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Essentially, both bills would deem such circumstances to be “outside and unattended,” regardless of the dog having access to a covered shelter.
In the hunting community, dogs hold numerous crucial roles, including tracking game, pointing and flushing upland birds, and retrieving downed waterfowl. The unbreakable bond between sportsmen and their canines is one of the many reasons that dog owners spend countless time and money on maintaining proper conditions in their home kennels. Similarly, sportsmen understanding that proper kennel care will provide greater benefits in the field, relative to the performance of their dogs. HB 1822 and SB 989 remove a dog owner’s sovereignty over making these decisions and are inconsiderate of each individual’s special circumstances. Similarly, these bills paint all dog breeds with the same brush, failing to recognize the fact that many dog breeds innately thrive in adverse weather conditions. Bearing no other variables in mind, HB 1822 and SB 989 limit the amount of time that a dog spends outside, neglecting to account for the diverse physical abilities of different breeds.
In 2019, CSF submitted a letter of opposition to HB 1822 to the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government, and sent similar testimony against SB 989 to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. In conjunction with this outreach, CSF has continued to fight this legislation through meeting and speaking with numerous in-state partners and members of the Massachusetts General Court. Even though CSF has already weighed-in on both of these bills, the sign-on letter serves as a prime opportunity to reengage the Committees and express a staunch opposition in advance of the upcoming executive sessions. CSF appreciated the opportunity to partner with the American Kennel Club on this sign-on letter, joining alongside several in-state and national organizations who share a common understanding of the many detriments that HB 1822 and SB 989 would inflict upon the hunting community.
With attempts to pass restrictive kennel bills trending across New England, CSF will continue to work alongside partner conservation organizations towards the shared goal of protecting and advancing sportsmen’s interests.
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?