Massachusetts lawmakers have given final approval to a bill that would prohibit the drowning of animals and double the penalties for hit and run accidents on dogs or cats.
Under the bill, the hit-and-run penalty would double from $50 to $100 for a first offense and $500 and the cost of medical expenses up to $2,500 for a second and subsequent offense.
The bill would also remove a requirement to automatically kill animals involved in animal fighting, prohibit sexual contact with an animal, and require property owners to search for abandoned animals within three days after a property is vacated.
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has 10 days to act on the bill.
The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Bruce Tarr, said the bill aims to protect animals from abuse.