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Secretary Kristen Lepore, with Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito, speaking at the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

Secretary Kristen Lepore, with Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito, speaking at the Animal Rescue League of Boston about the progress of regulatory reform.

Nikki the rabbit and Mischief the cat were two of the animals introduced to Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito, and Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore during a visit to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) on Monday. State officials were there to highlight significant changes in state regulations as part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s extensive regulatory review process, including improving the lives of shelter animals and increasing space and flexibility for animal shelters.

“The streamlining of regulations to improve accountability to our citizens, municipalities, businesses, non-profits, healthcare providers and educational institutions was an extensive process,” said Governor Baker. “We are pleased to work with stakeholders like the Animal Rescue League to allow them to more efficiently do their job, serving more animals in need, and allowing them to recover humanely.”

Consistent with national recommendations, the changes reduced quarantine periods for unvaccinated dogs and cats possibly exposed to rabies from six months to four months, allowing The Animal Rescue League and other animal shelters across the state to save and find homes for more animals in need. The changes were made as part of the administration’s extensive regulatory reform review announced by Executive Order shortly after taking office, involving over 131 listening sessions and 1,000 stakeholder comments on roughly 1,700 Executive Branch regulations, the vast majority of which have been created since 1970.

“This thorough review of our onerous regulatory environment will dramatically improve the business climate of Massachusetts as well as improve the quality of life for non-profits that do great work like the Animal Rescue League,” said Secretary Kristen Lepore.

Like many animal shelters in the Commonwealth, The Animal Rescue League of Boston, has limited quarantine space, and physical capacity limits require difficult decisions to made about the euthanizing of animals suspected to have rabies. Earlier this year, the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians issued new recommendations in the 2016 Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention advising reducing quarantine periods to four months due to evidence animals in isolation for an extended period of six months can become stressed and depressed, even with regular human socialization.

Mary Nee, president of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, credited the Baker administration with “acting swiftly.”

“This is a win-win all around,” Nee added.

Baker said the changes were part of a larger administration-wide overhaul of state regulations, which he likened to “cleaning out the basement” to keep government rules up with changing times. Out of 1,700 regulations, Baker said they rescinded about 275, amended 800, and left 630 regulations “as-is.”

MassLive.com coverage of the event was used in this post. 

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