A bill introduced by Massachusetts State Senator Mark Montigny (D- New Bedford) could open the door for private lawsuits for suspected animal cruelty. According to the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), Senate Bill 767 would grant private citizens to sue pet owners, farmers and possibly even hunters for perceived ill-treatment. The bill is one of several others filed that The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) calls a clarification of current laws. Other legislation involves guidelines for veterinarians, dog trainers and trappers.
“Under this bill, animal rights activists would be able to sue anyone – including sportsmen, farmers, and dog owners – whenever and wherever they think animal cruelty is being committed,” said USSA Government Affairs director Evan Heusinkveld. “This could force sportsmen and women who have done nothing wrong to spend thousands of dollars to defend themselves against animal rights zealots looking to take them to court.”
Sportsmen who train hunting dogs are believed to be especially at risk under the provisions of the bill. The use of a shock collar and tethering may be grounds for a lawsuit, says the USSA. Senate Bill 767 and associated information can be read here.