Letter: Enforce existing animal rules, don’t add new ones

Posted 9/11/19

To the editor:

The Division of Animal Health in the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources handles and regulates the keeping of animals. Local BOH offices don't need more regulations …

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Letter: Enforce existing animal rules, don’t add new ones

Posted

To the editor:

The Division of Animal Health in the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources handles and regulates the keeping of animals. Local BOH offices don't need more regulations to duplicate that function. The so-called barn books are used for that purpose. Local inspectors of animals in each community get head counts of animals, the types of animals, and review the conditions on how the animals are kept.

No additional BOH regulation to duplicate that data is needed. Perhaps coordination and administrative direction to gather that information would help. Reports on numbers and locations for housing of animals are and always have been part of the local inspector of animals’ responsibilities. Many local residents, include my dad and uncle, had that responsibility years ago.

Somehow that does not seem to matter and local officials seem to want to add more regulations, duplicate functions, and further grow local budget expenses.

Enforcement of existing permit requirements for horses, pigs, dogs, kennels, stables, and barn book referrals can get the job done. MDAR, federal and state regulations, local public health regulations,  local public safety regulations, state and local environmental requirements are all enacted to guide our Right to Farm Community now.

Tenant farm regulations further deal with non-resident would-be keepers of animals now in Westport as well. The tenant farm problems experience in Westport happened not because we didn't have regulations in place. Piggery regulations, stable regulations, kennel regulations, barn books, public health and safety regulation, environmental regulations, and best practice models were just not monitored as they should have been.

It is time to administratively get the job done properly. Enacting even more government regulations isn't answer. Westport can come together on this and get the job done. Farmers, residents who keep a pet or a few chickens, neighbors with concerns of harm to animals or public health and safety, and residents who support Westport's Right to Farm can work with the BOH and other local authorities to keep Westport the community we all love!

Tony Vieira

Westport

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