Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Senator Tarr's Statement on Arrest in 'Puppy Doe' Case

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today, following the arrest of 32-year-old Radoslaw Czerkawski on multiple charges of animal cruelty in connection with the infamous “Puppy Doe” case:

“The prosecutors and the police in this case deserve tremendous credit for staying focused and committed and pursuing multiple leads to bring an alleged perpetrator of this horrific act of animal cruelty to justice.  Those individuals who would so callously attack a defenseless animal should be put on notice that their actions will not go unpunished.  Now it is up to the Legislature to do its part by giving police and prosecutors the tools they need to deal with these types of cases in the future by passing the PAWS Act.”

The PAWS Act (Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety) was recently filed by Senator Tarr and 75 other Massachusetts legislators to expand the penalties for animal abuse and cruelty and to create a statewide animal abuse registry.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Senator Tarr’s Statement on the PAWS Act

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”  - Mahatma Gandhi

Like most people, I was horrified to learn of the tragic case of a two-year-old pit bull found in a Quincy park with extensive wounds that included burns on her face, lacerations scattered on her body, skull fractures, half starved, dislocated joints, and what may be worst of all, a split tongue to look like a serpent’s.  ‘Puppy Doe’, as she is commonly referred to, was tortured to an extent most of us cannot even fathom.

When Puppy Doe sought love, she received hate; when she sought compassion, she received cruelty; and when she sought comfort, she received pain.  The individual or individuals who perpetrated these crimes against her are nothing at all, if not monsters.  They are subhuman, incapable of accepting the unconditional love gifted from animal to person.

Sadly, as I type these words, monsters, such as the ones who cowardly abused ‘Puppy Doe’ relentlessly, continue to commit acts of cruelty.  Often times, our laws refer to animals as little more than property, but we are a great society, and our society does not accept this notion.  Dogs, cats, and other animals become a part of our families, and have become a significant presence that we share our homes and our lives with.

On Monday, October 7th, the Massachusetts Senate Republican Caucus filed “An Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety”, or the “PAWS Act”, to address our antiquated animal cruelty laws, some of which date back as far as the 19th and 20th centuries.  The PAWS Act increases the penalties both in terms of jail time and fines, but it also creates an animal abuse registry of those convicted of animal abuse crimes.  Furthermore, the registry would obligate animal shelters, pet stores, and registered breeders to crosscheck the names on the registry prior to an animal exchanging hands. 

Importantly, the registry would be accessible to private citizens by visiting law enforcement agencies, such as a municipality’s local police department, and empower private citizens who list animals in classified ads with the tools to combat against those who habitually troll Craigslist ads for further animal victims.

We are a great people, but we must not sit idly by.  We must stand together, speak in unison, and declare that these actions, these crimes against animals cannot and will not be tolerated in our communities.  At this moment the PAWS Act has 43 total sponsors.  I ask everyone to call their State Senator and State Representative and urge them to sign onto the PAWS Act.

On a parallel note, I want to thank everyone for the tremendous amount of support I have received regarding the filing of the PAWS Act.  People from Massachusetts and across the nation have been extremely supportive, and I thank you.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Media Alert: Tarr On the Air with Fox 25

Tonight Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr will be a guest on the Fox 25 Evening News to discuss the tragic case of Puppy Doe, a dog found cruelly beaten and tortured, and a bill that the Senate Republican Caucus is filing known as the PAWS Act.  Please tune in at 6:00 p.m. to watch this evening’s segment.

 To learn more about the PAWS Act, please check out Scaling Beacon Hill's blog post from October 3rd.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Senator Tarr’s Statement on Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Reform Bill

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement regarding today’s filing of comprehensive drinking water and wastewater infrastructure reform legislation in the Senate, a bill Senator Tarr is co-sponsoring:

“Water is a critical element of life, and we all must work to ensure that it is delivered sustainably and cost-effectively.  By expanding state partnerships to include support for conservation efforts, promoting efficiency and careful planning, this legislation holds the promise of helping cities and towns address clean water and wastewater needs without putting municipal budgets in jeopardy and without having to rely on a crisis to get local infrastructure the attention it deserves.”

Senate Republicans Fight for Animal Cruelty Law; ‘PAWS Act’ will Justly Punish those who Abuse Animals

Compelled to take legislative action against those who abuse animals, the Senate Republican Caucus is filing legislation later this week that would increase the penalties, and create safeguards against those who commit horrendous acts of abuse against animals, and are calling on their colleagues of both branches to make the bill a bicameral, bipartisan effort.  On August 31, “Puppy Doe” was euthanized after she had been discovered in a Quincy park suffering from long term, irreversible damage to her body, which included a stab wound to her eye; the splitting of her tongue to look like a serpent; dislocated shoulder, elbow, wrist, and ankle; burned, and starved.

“Our laws are woefully outdated regarding the subject of punishing those who abuse animals,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).  “As a society, we need to stand up against those who would inflict pain so ruthlessly and coldheartedly, and tell them these actions cannot and will not be tolerated.”

The legislation, which is titled “An Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety” or the “PAWS Act”, raises fines and penalties, and creates an animal abuse registry.  Highlights of the bill include:

• Establishing an anonymous animal abuse tip hotline;

• Expanding the use of the Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund to include the rehabilitation and care of abused animals, and increasing the size of the board that administers the fund to include a special state police officer from an animal humane organization, and a member of local law enforcement;

• Imposing a fine of up to $1,000 on any veterinarian who knowingly and willfully fails to report a suspected act of cruelty to an animal;

• Increasing the penalties associated with cruelty to animals, or maliciously killing, maiming, disfiguring, or exposing them to poison from $2,500 to between $2,500 and $10,000 (current law also includes imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years);

• Increasing the penalties for a second or subsequent offense from 5-10 years state imprisonment and a fine between $5,000 to $20,000;

• Increasing the penalty for a hit and run conviction on a cat or dog from a $50 fine to up to $2,000 fine and/or up to 60 days in a house of corrections;

• Creating a statewide registry of convicted individuals of animal abuse crimes, and requires all animal shelters, pet stores or animal breeders to check the registry prior to offering, selling, delivering, or giving an animal to any individual; and

• Creating a 9-member commission to review the state’s animal cruelty laws, many of which date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“Abusing or torturing an animal is a heinous crime and those who commit these crimes need to be held responsible for their actions,” said Senator Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth).  “As a state and as a society, we need to ensure our laws are designed to adequately punish those who choose to abuse animals.”

“This long overdue legislation will provide vital updates to the Commonwealth’s animal cruelty laws,” said Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham). “It is imperative that we take a stand to protect all those living in the Commonwealth. By sending the message that these atrocious examples of abuse will not be stood for, we are reinforcing the safety of our communities as a whole.”

The bill, which includes a key provision from H.1243 sponsored by Democratic Representative Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen), allows district attorneys to file a petition to the courts ordering a defendant to post a security or bond for the care of animals that have been impounded as a result of abuse or cruelty.

“Sadly, many of the animals seized by the MSPCA and other humane organizations require extensive rehabilitation and sometimes a lifetime of treatment, which can become extremely costly,” said Representative Campbell.  “I am thankful to Senator Tarr and his caucus for working so diligently to offer this legislative measure, and it is my hope that as a legislature we can pass this commonsense bill expeditiously.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Experiencing a Federal Government Shutdown

Today marks the first time in 17 years the Federal Government has effectively been shut down due to Congress not passing a federal budget.  While much of government is inactive until a resolution has been made, there are still some key functions that will continue to be in operation.

Those functions and services include: national security and public safety personnel, social security checks, some veterans’ benefits, unemployment benefits, food stamps, the U.S. Post Office, the Federal Reserve, federal prisons, air traffic control, emergency and disaster assistance, and many more.  However, even those Federal agencies could experience delays due to the furloughs of “non-essential” employees.

Attached below is a Veterans Field Guide to the Federal Government shutdown.  Also, please click here to view Federal agency contingency plans regarding the shutdown.  To read about which agencies are affected by furloughs please click here.  If you continue to have problems reaching a specific agency, please do not hesitate in contacting Senator Tarr’s office at (617) 722-1600.
  http://www.scribd.com/doc/172491610/Veterans-Field-Guide-to-Government-Shutdown"  style="text-decoration: underline;" >Veterans Field Guide to Government Shutdown