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Mass. Animal Shelters Worry About New State Regulations

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WBZ-TV's Bill Shields Bill Shields
Bill Shields is a general assignment reporter for WBZ-TV News. He...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Animal shelters in Massachusetts may be in trouble. Some say that new state regulations would make it harder for them to care for abandoned animals.

The rules are designed to protect pets and their new families, but shelter operators say the rules would have unintended consequences.

“We take pride in the quality of care that is given to our dogs and our staff is trained to recognize illness in dogs,” said Marion McEwan of the Blue Dog Animal Shelter. “So therefore we don’t feel that that additional health certificate adds anything except a burden to the shelter.”

The state wants to make sure that people who adopt dogs and cats get a healthy animal so they’ve come up with some new regulations.

A certificate of health has to be signed by a vet within 30 days before adoption, foster homes may be subject to inspections and adoptions of pets with an issue that may pose a safety risk will be banned.

Officials say it will protect people and pets. “We want to make sure they have enough information to make an informed decision about whether or not they can take on the responsibility of that pet,” said Mike Driscoll of the Division of Animal Health.

At the Animal Rescue League of Boston, they adopted out 1,000 animals this past summer. They say if they have to have vets examine every animal twice, it could run them out of business.

“We’re supportive of full disclosure,” says Martha Smith-Blackmore of the Animal Rescue League of Boston. “We want people to understand what they’re getting into, but we want permission to place the animals that may be mildly sick, that don’t pose a threat to people in the community.”

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