Cat Law Changes in Massachusetts

Boston - Massachusetts State House - Photo by David Paul Ohmer (Flickr)

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Boston - Massachusetts State House - Photo by David Paul Ohmer (Flickr)

Sometimes I feel I live in the stone age because some of the laws concerning cats are barbaric. Everyone is very familiar with the declawing issue. It's inhumane, cruel, painful, unnecessary and should be banned. Period.

How many of you know that it IS legal to devocalize a cat? That's the law in Massachusetts. I'm not sure about other states or countries.

Yep, a cat. This law also pertains to dogs but-A CAT?! You've got to be kidding. I thought everyone loved to hear a cats many vocal talents. Apparently in Massachusetts there is a bill being introduced to the senate to ban this crazy-I don't even know what to call it. It's too cruel for words. It has been named "Logan's Law." The official bill is H.B.344 and the entire bill can be read here

This is not minor surgery as many believe. It is invasive, painful and can lead to lifelong problems including gagging and breathing difficulties. It carries significant risks even when preformed by an expert surgeon. Many veterinarians are now refusing to do it under any circumstances.

Pictures on the internet show the physical damage done to "pets" who have their vocal cords removed. To me they are as infuriating as the declawing photos. See House vote transcript

Once again we are dealing with an issue where there is nothing physically wrong with the animal and the animal comes out of surgery maimed for life. Logan's Law recognizes this is an owner issue and not a pet issue.

An update on Logan's Law on March 3, 2010 stated the bill has been submitted to the Massachusetts State Senate after passing 155-1 in the House of Representatives. Hopefully it will go on thru without any amendments.

Massachusetts also has another new law on the books. As of December 31, 2009, a person living in this state could own 27 cats. That seems a few too many from my point of view but I'm sure there are rescuers, foster homes, etc. where this is possible without it being cat hoarding. The article stated that in 2010 the number of cats legally owned would be cut from 27 to 4. I guess my question concerning this issue is "what happens to the other 23 cats who put the household over the limit?" Will they be turned into local shelters? Or turned loose in the wild? Check this one out at: How many cats can you legally own in Massachusetts?

It's not my intention to bash Massachusetts. I'm sure many other states have laws pertaining to animals that need to be reviewed and changed. These are just two making the news at this time that I thought would make an interesting discussion. I also hope my readers like the topics I pick. Someone has to speak up to protect our feline babies.

I believe it's way past time for all of this madness to stop. We are physically and mentally scarring our "pets" due to people issues. We all need to be educated as to the responsibilities of owning a cat. The shelter where I live does a thorough interview with a potential owner to make sure certain criteria are met. Their job is to match the right pet with the right owner. Then some people get angry when their adoption application is rejected.

Declawing is wrong. Devocalizing is wrong. Throwing away animals when we tire of them is wrong. I'd better stop writing now before I blow up too many brain cells.

The vets in Massachusetts oppose the bill - can you believe it? - yes.


Cat Law Changes in Massachusetts to Cat News

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Cat Law Changes in Massachusetts

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Oct 14, 2010 Candace - appalling
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

That is the only word I can use to describe your post - APPALLING.

If your family cannot stand to hear barking, rather than MAIM a dog, get a different pet, like a gerbil or a canary who chirps. You effectively maimed your dogs to "soften" their voices. That is an absolute DISGRACE!!!

People like you should never ever own pets of any kind. If your mother is so depressed, get her a different pet, not a dog or any other animal that makes noise. Better yet, move to the country with lots of space so it won't make any difference. Unbelievable.

Oct 13, 2010 Animal Activists vs. Pet Owner Rights
by: Candace Clemens

Extensive meddling in how others want and/or need to "manage" their pets is way over the top. In the UK, they have banned teaching horseback riding w/out stirrups. I am appalled at the ignorance that this law demonstrates. Life is full of dangerous things....both for animals and for people. And many people project their own feelings and thoughts into things that are not scientifically sound. (
for instance -- a big uproar over PETCO neutering male baby bunnies w/out anesthesia....sounds horrible...EXCEPT baby bunnies have a VERY HIGH mortality rate from ANY anesthesia. And, not much different from a bris).
NON-INVASIVE BARK SOFTENING WAS a win-win-win-win....especially for mom's dogs. Bark softening is illegal in Boston, now. I did a post on a CL forum seeking a vet who was good at the non-invasive procedure of bark softening. I got two great referrals, and one well-intentioned dog loving responder who suggested that a cheaper alternative might be to take a screw driver and puncture my neighbor's ear drums.
Aside from being illegal, I like my neighbors and their babies, and feel I should be responsible to their rights as well. My mom's 2 poms were increasingly confused about constant reprimands, anti-bark collars, shock AND citronella, ultrasonic devices, expensive trainers who said you could not TRAIN this out of many breeds, esp. when there are two of them.
We have no air conditioning, so we leave our windows open and use fans. Mom was desperate. I got her the pups when she started getting so depressed after the loss of her husband. Her pups are her only joy in life, and the center of her social life. Once I finally located a vet, the procedure was incredibly quick and simple, and when the anesthesia wore off, they pranced out of their travel crates to take a pee, and were happy as ever. No noticeable discomfort, esp. compared to neutering and esp. spaying.

They can still bark, too! only it's SOFT. And we are all happy. There is absolutely NO DIFFERENCE in their behavior, except perhaps they are happier.

We may eventually pass laws that just result in a lot of lonely people having to give up their companions, and potential euthanasia of dogs whose only "crime" is an instinct to HERD and ALERT critters, (not bite or kill.)
About cat voices --- mom's dogs are now a lot quieter than many cat fights that have awakened me. There are cats who meow constantly and loudly. If they aren't in a "shared" environment (i.e. group house, apt. w/ thin walls), it's not a big deal. But if so, someone may have to euthanize their cat or risk eviction. Life for humans is stressful enough. Have a modicum of respect for people as well as animals.Please, please, people. Don't go making your opinion a law. Let us live with a little freedom to decide what is best for ourselves, our pets, and the neighborhood in which we live.

Sep 08, 2010 I believe the Restraining Order law is pending
by: E

I've been looking around, and it seems that the bill is still pending. It's not listed in the 209A section of the Generaly Laws yet, and the MSPCA still shows it as ongoing.

However, it *is* a felony here to abuse animals, whether there is an RO in place or not.

Sep 07, 2010 Another 1st in Massachusetts
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

Correct me, E, if I am wrong but I think that Massachusetts is also the FIRST IN THE COUNTRY to extend the Restraining Order law protection to cover animals/pets in the household. Should an abuser attack an animal to get back at his/her family, they go straight to jail - no passing 'go' and no questions asked.

Sep 06, 2010 There was no law in Massachusetts prior to the new one
by: E

Before everyone continues to declare how inhumane it was for Massachusetts to have a law making it legal to devocalize a cat or dog -- that is incorrect. There was simply NO LAW on the subject. And Massachusetts has become the first state IN THE COUNTRY to criminalize the procedure. The governor signed it into law in April of 2010. It passed quite easily in both the House and the Senate.

So, Massachusetts is way ahead of the curve on this. Massachusetts was also one of the first states to make animal cruelty a felony, not just a misdemeanor, and it is punishable by up to 5 years in state prison.

May 04, 2010 Here in the UK
by: Sue Jaymes

docking tails is illegal; cropping dogs ears is illegal; declawing - you would go to prison as would the vet, same for devocalising. We saw recently a programme from the USA where people have cosmetic surgery done to their dogs. Nose jobs; tummy tucks .... all of which most people found disgusting and amounted to nothing less than animal cruelty. It never ceases to amaze me the cruelty some people in the USA can legally do to their animals out of purely selfish reasons.

We used to have fox hunting here but now that, thank goodness, is illegal. But some of the things that USA allows people to do to their animals .... makes me sick to the stomach. They dont deserve to own animals.

Mar 19, 2010 You and us alike
by: Michael

You in the USA and us the UK are both travelling down the wrong path in my opinion. Actually, come to think of it I don't think it stops there.

Michael Avatar

Mar 18, 2010 You"re Kidding Me Right?????
by: Merrily

This can't be serious, with all of the problems we have in the USA we have 156 people in the House Of Representatives of the State of Massachusetts voting to de voice a cat????
Have we lost all sence of reality? God help us all, we are travelling down the wrong path.

Mar 17, 2010 Don't feel bad Gail
by: Joyce Sammons

I live in South Carolina and our governor had a mistress.

Mar 17, 2010 I KNEW everyone would be hot on this one
by: Elisa Black

This is my first article where I was at a loss for words-except the kind I hate to put in print in case there are kids reading. Please protest this. From what I read of it they're trying to amend it as legal as a "last resort" when other methods have failed to quiet the animal. They really need to slit their own throats to see how it feels.

Mar 17, 2010 Stupidity = Mass Pols
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

Just when I thought the politicians in my own state cannot get any dumber, they prove me wrong once again!

This is just about the most bizarre and cruelest joke of them all. Devocalizing cats??? Are you f'n kidding me???

THANK YOU for bringing this to our attention. I had no idea this was in the pipeline. You can certainly bet your backside that I will be VERY VOCAL about this one! These nitwits will rue the day they entertained this foolishness.

Mar 17, 2010 PLEASE call Mass Senators today!
by: Susan

Thanks for writing about this important Bill! The House voted overwhelmingly to ban de-vocalization (de-barking) 150-1 on March 3rd, but calls/emails are still needed to the Senate! Here is contact info:

It is very important to say:
"Pass House Bill 344 AS WRITTEN so it can be enforced" so the bill isn't watered down or altered.

The Breeders and vets (those that use animals to make money) oppose the devocalization bill. Breeders slit the throat & vocal cords of their dogs so they can breed them in their backyards w/o bothering the neighbors. The Mass Veterinary Medical Association has members that profit from de-barking animals, so, to no surprise, they oppose this bill.

Here is more information about it:

Meet devocalized dogs:

Hear what animal experts say:

THANK YOU again for writing about this!

Mar 17, 2010 Cat Laws in Massachusetts.
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

I am "SPEECHLESS". "De-clawing" was and is terrible and now i am learning something new in "CAT ATROCITIES", the removal of "Vocal chords" in cats.
The World looks up to America as the Worlds most developed and powerfull country, but, as far as the upkeep and maintenance of "cats" is concerned, the U.S.a has barbarian laws.

Mar 17, 2010 Devocalizing and Declawing
by: Helmi Flick

I am speechless and aghast. This is a nightmare. Who ARE these people? Don't they have something better to do? I think it's time for a feline lobby just to protect our loved ones from these monsters.

At the very least, we shouldn't do anything to cats we don't do to our children. We have a responsibility to get rid of these people in politics with such stupid stupid ... %&^*$%%$^&@&(* ideas.

Mar 16, 2010 I am lost for words
by: Finn Frode, Denmrk

Devocalizing too? Now I am lost for words, because when I wrote my comment 'Some Advice on Surgically Improving Your Cat' I thought I was far out, but with the modern Mengeles of the Vet World it seems I'm not...

Finn Frode avatar

Mar 16, 2010 The horror
by: Michael

Hi Dorothy. We in Europe tend to think of the USA as leading the world. They say that the UK does what the USA has done. Yet, it is as archaic and as backward in some respects as can be imagined. Sport hunting is another thing that gets up my nose. Killing the wonderful cougar for fun is sick. Yes, it attacks cattle but that is because we build farms on its land and our massive population growth is unabated sprawling over the vast areas of the US.

Anyway back to devocalisation or whatever it is called. The bill (legislation that is not yet law) to ban it is being challenged by a number of businesses so it can't, it seems, be that uncommon.

Here is a link: All creatures - link broken Nov 2012.

Many people just don't want to live with a cat. What they want to live with is a fluffy comforter that is animated and the least possible bother - a kind of security blanket on legs.

I wonder if there is a bright spark of a manufacturer who could make one? It might save some cats.

Mar 15, 2010 Oh damn.........
by: Dorothy

Sometimes I just cringe that this is the country I live in, the progressive (not) fabulous (not) U S of A. It is so frustrating . . . but my friends, just know that with continued work and education, this too can change. It is kind of shocking.

Do we know if people actually are still doing this? Or is it a lost archaic law that has never been erased from the books?

We who love our cats (with the exception of perhaps, James of Chicago) are horrified at this news. Who knew?


6 thoughts on “Cat Law Changes in Massachusetts”

  1. Just sick thats like devocalizing your child because they are crying to much people who do this to animals should be hung and have their throats slit

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