Some of the last-minute work completed by Massachusetts legislators gave protections to our pets.

Lawmakers gave final approval to a bill that would double penalties on hit-and-run accidents on dogs and cats.

The penalty for such a crime would go from $50 to $100 for first-time offenders. For a second offense, the fine rises to $500 and medical expenses up to $2,500.

Another measure in the bill ensures animals would also no longer face mandatory extermination if involved in animal fighting.

There are a few other protections in the legislation. While our lawmakers are meant to be primarily protecting the citizenry, animals are much more than property to their owners, and it is good that the law reflects that.

Our pets are our helpless charges, and our humanity is enriched by their presence.

We hope that Gov. Charlie Baker agrees and signs the bill immediately.


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