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Death of Abandoned Dog Spurs Legislation Effort

Legislation spurred on by the death of a Hudson dog named Phantom would protect animals in abandoned buildings.

 

A Hudson resident's efforts to find justice for a lab that died after being abandoned in a foreclosed property have culminated with the filing of a bill to protect animals in similar situations.

"This is the bill that I want. I have been praying for this bill for two years and I am very, very happy ... I want this law passed. I don’t want this to happen to any other dogs," said Lyn Gorka, a local real estate agent and animal rights advocate, who had spoken out for such a bill after being moved by the story of the 2 year-old Phantom that died after being abandoned in a foreclosed apartment.

Gorka said abandoned animals in foreclosed properties is ongoing and being reported by other brokers throughout the region.

"I want this to be called Phantom's Bill," she said. "I’ve been working on it for almost two years and I haven’t given up ... with this bill in place, more animals will be saved."

The bill that would provide protections for abandoned animals in foreclosed and abandoned properties in Massachusetts was filed last Wednesday night.

The bill, filed by State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), is titled An Act protecting abandoned animals in vacant properties (SD.618). It specifies that abandoned or foreclosed properties must be inspected for abandoned animals by the landlords or foreclosing owners within five days of properties being vacated.

'I filed [the bill], to help provide protection and prevent further harm to abandoned animals in properties that have been foreclosed or vacated," said Sen. Eldridge, who worked with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on the bill.

If any abandoned animals are found, the the landlord or foreclosing owner would be required to notify an animal control officer. The bill does not make the landlord or foreclosing owner further responsible for the animal.

Phantom's owner was never charged. Hudson police said that there was a miscommunication and not enough evidence to prosecute, said Gorka.

“I’d like to see that case reopened,” she said.

She has petitioned the Hudson Police and the Middlesex District Attorney's Office to open the investigation again. She started an online petition to collect signatures in an attempt to sway the police department and district attorney. She is still collecting signatures here.

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