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'Ollie's Law' seeks to regulate dog boarding facilities in Mass. – Spectrum News 1

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BOSTON – This week in the State House, legislators heard testimony about "Ollie’s Law," a bill that is aimed to created basic guidelines for dog boarding facilities to ensure safety.
The bill comes after a 2020 attack at a kennel in East Longmeadow killed a 7-month old-labradoodle, Ollie. 
Right now, the burden is placed on pet owners to see what kind of emergency plans are in place when there is a fire, fight or illness at their dog’s daycare facility. The state of Massachusetts doesn’t currently have any oversight, and Ollie’s Law is asking for a basic set of guidelines so that every pet could be safe.
“This is every single thing in the building that has to happen if there is a fire,” said Jeni Mather of JM Pet Resort in Brocton as she shared her facility’s escape plan. 
JM Pet Resort is a massive facility with doggy daycare, training, grooming and a vet clinic all under one roof. So if something were to go wrong, they need everyone to know what to do. 
“We do drills on this a few times a year," Mather said. "I’m proud of how quickly we can get the dogs out."
Their emergency preparedness plan isn’t mandated by the state, and that is something Mather, the MSPCA and other animal advocates are trying to change.
"When I’m speak about those things, I’m not speaking about wanting all these rules and regulations, I’m a business owner that would be silly," Mather said. "What I do want is people to have the tools to be successful in their care providing, in their business, and in their safety with the pets that they serve.”
Ollie’s Law is looking for state guidelines for kennels that includes emergency plans, overnight staff for boarding and staff with a driver’s license available in case a dog needs to be driven to an emergency vet.
“There is nothing that prohibits anybody from putting up a shingle that says they are a doggy daycare,” said Kara Holmquist of the MSPCA. “It’s really surprising to some.”
Despite the tragedy that happened to Ollie in 2020, Boston-based dog lawyer Jeremy Cohen said he still gets a staggering number of calls about similar incidents statewide.
“Every ten days approximately I get a call about a dog that has been injured or killed in a facility,” Cohen said. “And that is since Ollie, 106 dogs that I know about.”
Opponents of the bill want to limit the kinds of facilities that would have to have these regulations in place, worried it will impact dog breeders and small daycare centers.


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