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VERY disturbing bill introduced in MA

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  • VERY disturbing bill introduced in MA

    If this bill passes, it will set a precedent for a sea-change in how animals are viewed under the law, and not in a good way.

    The way I read it, it is a hair's breadth away from suing on behalf of an individual animal. This is something that is being floated in Europe; conferring "individual status" on animals, an ersatz personhood, so that they have standing in the courts.

    Would like to hear the COTH lawyers and everyone else on this....

    VP Horse & Carriage Association of NYC


  • #2
    They tried that one with the wording in the "guardianship bill" in CO a few years ago, that would have given anyone rights to sue you in the name of your dog, if they didn't think you were taking care of your dog like they thought you ought to.

    What you really have to watch for, when the bill is in it's last phase, what else will they piggyback to it, that is even more onerous?

    Scary, indeed.

    About two years ago, animal rights extremist groups said they would launch a real attack, especially thru the courts and lobbying.
    Guess they have done so, on may fronts.
    They are also suing the Pork Board and National Cattlemen's Association, all and any they can, mostly to disrupt and make everyone have to spend money defending themselves.

    All those millions those animal rights extremist groups have amassed from donations, that are still coming in like a veritable river, they decided it was time to use some of that.

    Well, it is the way the game is played, their money, they can do what they wish, right?


    • #3
      Another one of those WTF bills, just like fetal personhood.


      • #4
        The weird thing is it is added to the chapter on private nuisances, which has a section that protects farms from such an action. So the intent seems to be to allow an individual to obtain a judgment that another individual's treatment of an animal-and not a farm animal, so we must be talking about pets, although horses that aren't on "farms" would be included- is a private nuisance and must be abated or removed.

        Cruel or in humane treatment under the bill includes certain crimes that are already in the animal cruelty statute, or risks to the animal's life, health or safety.

        Limitations on actions against farming operations are here:

        So the bad news is, a decent lobbyist will be able to argue that this bill only adds the ability for someone who cares but currently has no cause of action available, the standing to seek removal of an animal from a dangerous situation.
        \"Non-violence never solved anything.\" C. Montgomery Burns


        • #5
          Also, a private nuisance is only actionable when a property owner creates, permits, or maintains a condition or activity on his property that causes a substantial and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the property of another. Under this bill you would essentially be suing a neighbor for hunting on their property (for example) and that this activity somehow created such an unreasonable interference.

          It limits the universe of potential plaintiffs. I'm sure there are plenty of property owners just itching to sue their neighbors for hunting, yikes. Since hunting is legal under certain circumstances this would be hard to argue. I question how legislators would square legal hunting with this bill's language about danger to the animal. I would have to research it to go any deeper on that piece. But this could definitely be the basis for harassing suits.
          \"Non-violence never solved anything.\" C. Montgomery Burns


          • #6
            I am a Massachusetts resident and appreciate the heads-up on this asinine bill. I will contact my representative and tell him to vote against it.
            I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


            • #7
              I'm not a lawyer but I think these might be relevant documents...



              So tell me if I'm interpreting these documents right...

              If I'm understanding this correctly, relating to horses, it might seem possible that if any person believed that the owner of a commercial boarding or training establishment was overworking a horse, that the person could then bring an action against that owner for the protection and humane treatment of animals?

              If the owner is found to be guilty, then the owner might be prohibited from working in any capacity that requires the owner to be in contact with a horse for the rest of their life?

              Did I get this right?

              I hope not.
              Last edited by alterhorse; Mar. 11, 2013, 01:28 AM.


              • #8
                Thanks for bringing this up, OP. I've passed it on to dog lists as well.


                • #9
                  You need an interest in real property to bring a public nuisance action, so no, not just any person. The remedy of abatement would only apply to what the owner of the boarding operation does on that property as it effects their neighbor, the plaintiff.
                  \"Non-violence never solved anything.\" C. Montgomery Burns


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Guin View Post
                    I am a Massachusetts resident and appreciate the heads-up on this asinine bill. I will contact my representative and tell him to vote against it.
                    Yes, thanks for bringing it to my attention. Not sure how I missed this, Lowell Sun is my regional paper and I read it online most days.

                    I'll be contacting my state legislators and advising all my dog, horse and farming friends to do the same. Also, the local gun club folks, who recently, successfully, pressured our town's Board of Selectman to drop a plan for a local gun plan will probably be interested as well. They can really put a coalition together when their interest are threatened by stupid legislation.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Guin View Post
                      I am a Massachusetts resident and appreciate the heads-up on this asinine bill. I will contact my representative and tell him to vote against it.
                      Me too. Thanks for posting.
                      What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


                      • #12
                        Oh, and I'll bet this bill was filed "by request". It would be interesting to know who asked this guy to file it. Montigny has been implicated in the past for peddling influence for campaign contributions...he's been named in reports on the Mass Probation Department cronyism scandal.


                        • #13
                          Seems like there must be more to the story. Ma.passed a revision of their AC laws last yr? Or yr before which the gov signed into law. Many groups supported that revision. Maybe there was something in there that someone didn't like?
                          But if you need an interest in real property to file this complaint,then it sounds like a neighbor vs neighbor situation. Those can be really nasty.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pezk View Post
                            Seems like there must be more to the story. Ma.passed a revision of their AC laws last yr? Or yr before which the gov signed into law. Many groups supported that revision. Maybe there was something in there that someone didn't like?
                            But if you need an interest in real property to file this complaint,then it sounds like a neighbor vs neighbor situation. Those can be really nasty.
                            Hmmm, I'd forgotten about the update to the state AC laws last year until you mentioned it. Among other, mostly innocuous things, it did away with breed specific legislation at the local level...I'll bet some people were unhappy about that. Is this a way for people to get rid of their neighbor's Pit Bull by claiming it is "abused"? There has been a dog fighting problem in the New Bedford area where this senator is from, but current laws cover that just fine.

                            This opens up a whole can of worms that is ripe for being abused to harrass your neighbors.


                            • #15
                              OK, my last idea doesn't explain it . Montigney is quoted here supporting the ban on breed specific legislation and claiming to love Pit Bulls:

                              I wonder what this is about? If you google New Bedford, MA and Pit Bulls, there are many depressing stories of neglect and abuse...if this is aimed at empowering neighbors to go after those mistreating the dogs, it's WAY TOO broad and far reaching. Beefing up New Bedford Animal Control and investigating all complaints would be more effective and not as dangerous. I'm wondering if this Senator might just be naive and has gotten in bed with some Animal Rights group with a much larger agenda, thinking he's helping the dogs .


                              • #16
                                Animal rights extremists are learning their agenda is not that PC for many, so they now kind of hide their paws in those matters by going thru other than their main organizations.

                                As for those that introduce those bills, they didn't get to be elected official by being naive.
                                My guess is there was more to convince them to bring strange bills out or support them than not realizing what far reaching implications those may have.
                                Remember, those elected officials are there because they got the votes and there are many ways to get votes and whoever can help do that will get their ear.

                                That is how the system works and animal rights extremist groups have given notice that they are on the march and it will be thru legislation and lobbying as their major drive.


                                • #17
                                  Sponsored S.957 about the tethering of dogs
                                  Sponsored S.767 cruel and in humane Rx of animals. Co sponsored with Ben Swan of Springfield. Bill referred to joint Committee on Judiciary
                                  Sponsored S. 375 legation relative to private animal shelters and rescue orgs.(somehow this exempts horse and cattle auctions)( I don't know why) - referred to joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources and Ag.

                                  Bill S.767 news has made the northeast sportsman alliance etc.. Hunters feel it's directed at them.


                                  • #18
                                    Should have written Montigney sponsored


                                    • #19
                                      I would have to read the entire Bill to be sure - but is everyone sure this isn't a Bill formally permitting private prosecutions?

                                      Private prosecution is something that the AR lobby has been pushing as a way to get around hunter harassment laws and go after individual sportsmen and women.

                                      If a citizen witnesses a criminal act all they have to do is report it - private prosecutions really aren't necessary in this century. Neither is a civil suit - but I could see an AR group using a civil suit since the standard of evidence is lower.

                                      I do see how private prosecutions (if that is what this Bill formally permits) could be used by AR activists with the intent of persecuting private citizens. AR groups have millions of dollars at their disposal, and entire legal teams. A private citizen would go bankrupt within weeks or months after being targeted by an AR group. Guilt or innocence is immaterial. I guess a civil suit would serve the same purpose and be much easier for the AR group - for the victim either would be disastrous.

                                      Did anyone post a link to the Bill or did I miss it? I'd be interesting in knowing if the Bill was written in response to a unique situation encountered by a constituent, and the response was to create a godawful Bill that no one thought through. (that never happens wink wink nudge nudge)
                                      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                      -Rudyard Kipling


                                      • #20
                                        The lawyers are currently looking at it as it appears it might be a "floater". That is, see what resistence is mounted against it..if any..

                                        The news AR plan is to go after a person with the complaint signed by an AR lawyer. That way, you can not determine who your accusor is.

                                        This is what I received> Relevance to this law? Take a look at the wording regarding water available to the horses in New Hampshire.


                                        As you may recall, the animal rights attorney who filed a complaint on me is the chair of the New Hampshire Governor's Commission on the Humane Treatment of Animals. HSUS is also on this board.

                                        They have a new strategy on criminalizing the ownership of animals in this state which involves underground law.

                                        They have created a pamphlet on proper horse care for A.C. officers to distribute so that if the owner is subsequently charged with neglect it will be considered a felony rather than a misdemeanor. The pamphlet contains requirements that were never enacted by the legislature and changes the law significantly

                                        This lawyer who filed against the above individual (everything has been dropped however the AC did lie by stating dental and farrier work needed to be done and she claimed she spoke with the vet and farrier to confirm they had not been out. As a matter of record BOTH vet and farrier had been out within the previous 6 days.

                                        This individual attended a trail riding meeting and low and behold the attorney was there and she was "lecturing" on animal rights.

                                        I am researching how to get an attorney sanctioned for encouraging private citizens to illegally search property. In front of a group of people she stated "Public officials cannot go in without a warrant, but private people can." I believe she is encouraging trespassing.

                                        This could also work inconjunction with the law regarding this thread. Get private individuals to enter..then file a complaint for anything..using an animal rights lawyer.

                                        The above info comes from a case in New Hampshire.
                                        The Elephant in the room