Dedham’s ARL will join the State House Rally on Thursday to protect pets

DEDHAM, MA – On Thursday, March 10, the Ollie’s Law Coalition, which includes the Animal Rescue League in Dedham, will rally on the steps of the Massachusetts State House to call on lawmakers to step in and help protect pets throughout the Commonwealth. support for boarding schools.

There are currently no national regulations for these types of installations. Representative Brian H. Ashe, a Democrat from Longmeadow, last year proposed a bill to set standards for animal health and employee safety. He was heard in July 2021, but was sent to trial in January, effectively killing him.

During the rally, a number of Massachusetts residents will speak about their experiences and how uniform regulations could have prevented the pain and suffering their animals endured while boarding.

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He stands not only in support of this bill, but for all bills currently before the Legislature, confirmed a representative of the Animal Rescue League.

the Ollie’s Law Coalition was formed in 2020 to advocate for comprehensive and impactful regulation of the pet day care and boarding industry following Ollie’s death. Comprised of families of victims, veterinarians, dog trainers, leading animal welfare organizations, animal rights advocates and kennel owners, the coalition is a wide-ranging group dedicated to the improving the standards and safety of pet care facilities across the Commonwealth.

Find out what’s happening in Dedhamwith free real-time Patch updates.

The coalition also consists of a number of organizations, including the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in Boston and Dedham, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), the Dakin Humane Society, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Boston Dog Lawyers, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and JM Pet Resort, among others.

In 2020, Amy Baxter brought her 7-month-old Labradoodle named Ollie to a western Massachusetts dog daycare center, only to receive a text message shortly after saying that Ollie had been attacked by other dogs. He was seriously injured and Ollie died of his injuries two months later.

While the facility was shut down by city officials, Baxter was stunned to learn that there were no state regulations regarding boarding schools. She quickly got back into the fight to help ensure that such tragedies never happen again.

March 10 would have been Ollie’s 2nd birthday.

Allison Blanck, advocacy director for the Animal Rescue League of Boston, said Ollie’s Law was proposed in January 2021.

“Although it was essentially killed off when it was sent for consideration, there are elements of this bill in other bills currently before the Legislative Assembly,” she said. “One of the biggest hurdles in the legislative process is getting a bill out of the joint committee hearing process.”

She added that “a few bills similar to Ollie’s Law have received a favorable report in the Legislative Assembly”, allowing them to move forward in the process. Demonstrating public support for regulations can motivate legislators to support such bills.

“This won’t be the only opportunity for people to voice their opinions,” Blanck noted because of the other bills. She urged people to contact their lawmakers.

“The reality is that professional pet daycare is unregulated in Massachusetts,” Blanck continued. Although a person with more than four dogs must obtain a kennel license, there are no standards in place for how animals should be treated or emergency protocols should something go wrong.

In Ollie’s case, Blanck said there was only one service person at the facility.

“There was a vet nearby but unfortunately that person couldn’t take Ollie to the ER because the other dogs couldn’t be left unattended,” she said. “The person just took him to the groomer’s side of the facility and washed him. Ollie succumbed to his injuries weeks later.”

She added that while there are many good providers as well as well-meaning people, a lawyer she works with told her that “every 10 days or so there is a report of injury or death of an animal”.

“This is an opportunity for meaningful change,” Blanck continued. “People I’ve spoken to are in favor of the regulations. Otherwise, the onus is really on the pet owner to research a facility first.”

During the pandemic, there was a spike in the number of adopted pets, she noted. As people now return to work in an office environment, they may be looking for a place to keep their pets for a few hours or during the upcoming April school holidays.

One instance she recalled where she said stricter regulations would have been helpful was when a worker was cleaning around a dog’s crate while the animal was still inside, causing the ingestion of bleach by the dog.

“Amy has done a great job moving this issue forward,” Blanck said. “Unfortunately, it’s something people really don’t think about until they really need the service. It’s an opportunity to create meaningful change.”

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