ASPCA Commends Mass. Lawmakers for Passing "Puppy Doe" Bill

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Gov. Deval Patrick urged to sign bill increasing penalties for animal abusers

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) applauds Massachusetts lawmakers for passing a measure to increase maximum jail time and monetary penalties for animal cruelty. The bill also requires veterinarians to report animal abuse and establishes a task force to comprehensively review all state laws relating to animal cruelty and protection.

Known as the “Puppy Doe” bill in recognition of the horrific incident in Quincy, Mass. in August 2013, where a young dog was found starved, stabbed, burned and brutally beaten in a local park, S.2345 now heads to Gov. Deval Patrick to be signed into law.

“The deliberate and egregious acts of cruelty inflicted upon Puppy Doe were the stuff of nightmares, and a gross violation of the humane values of Massachusetts’ citizens,” said Bill Ketzer, senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Northeast region. “We applaud every state lawmaker who stepped forward in the grave shadow cast by Puppy Doe, acting quickly to demonstrate that animal cruelty must never be tolerated. We strongly urge Governor Patrick to sign this legislation into law to ensure the strongest possible protections for victims of cruelty, so no animal suffers the terrible fate of Puppy Doe.

“We’re very pleased that this crucial legislation has passed, and we extend our thanks to Representatives Louis Kafka and Bruce Ayers, and Senator Bruce Tarr who championed these reforms in the legislature,” said Kara Holmquist, director of advocacy for MSPCA-Angell. “We also thank every caring citizen who contacted state legislators to urge for stronger laws to punish animal abusers, and most importantly, to work to prevent cruelty from happening in the first place. Animal lovers around the state can today celebrate these efforts and hopefully find some peace knowing that from such tragic incidents, like Puppy Doe and others, awareness has been generated that will now prevent harm to other helpless animals.”

The Animal Rescue League of Boston responded to the case of “Puppy Doe,” a tiny dog who was systematically and brutally tortured over several months. Her injuries were so severe that sadly, euthanasia was the only humane option. The gut-wrenching details of this case prompted a review of the Commonwealth’s animal cruelty laws and a renewed interest to increase penalties for cases involving torture, mutilation and other vicious and calculated acts of cruelty. 

Earlier this year, Gov. Patrick also signed animal protection bills into law to assist pets in disasters and ban the cruel practice of shark finning. The pets in disasters law requires local governments to include strategies in their emergency operations plans to support the needs of people with household pets or service animals in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

For more information on the ASPCA or to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit
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