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Massachusetts Animal Cruelty Laws

Chapter 272, Section 77 of Massachusetts General Law prohibits animal abuse, neglect and cruelty. You can read the statute in full here. In Massachusetts, violation of this statute constitutes a felony crime. Anyone convicted under M.G.L. chapter 272, section 77 is subject to five years imprisonment in state prison, 2.5 years in the house of corrections and/or a fine of up to $2,500.  

What is animal cruelty?

Examples of animal abuse, neglect or cruelty:

How to report animal cruelty

ANY animal abuse, neglect or cruelty should be immediately reported to local or state law enforcement agencies. 

If you know or suspect that an animal is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death, immediately contact your local law enforcement agency or the Massachusetts State Police for emergency assistance.  

In non-emergency situations where you know of or suspect animal abuse, neglect or cruelty, contact your municipal animal control officer (often listed on your town's website). If you cannot contact the animal control officer, then reach out to your local police. You may have to make a few calls, but be persisitent! 

You can also contact the MSPCA Law Enforcement Department to report animal abuse, neglect or cruelty. Calling hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00AM - 5:00PM. To report suspected animal cruelty anywhere in Massachusetts, call (617) 522-6008 or (800) 628-5808. You can leave a message after hours or contact your local police.