News Minute: Here is the latest Massachusetts news from The Associated Press - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

News Minute: Here is the latest Massachusetts news from The Associated Press

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BOSTON (AP) - A legislative panel takes up a proposal stiffening animal cruelty penalties today. The so-called PAWS act would include a statewide registry of people convicted of animal abuse. The bill follows last year's highly-publicized case involving a pit bull that had to be put to sleep after it was found beaten and tortured in Quincy.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - Opening statements are set for tomorrow in the trial of a North Adams man accused in the slayings of three Pittsfield men. Prosecutors allege David Chalue (shuh-LOO') was one of three men who carried out the 2011 killings in an effort to silence witnesses. A jury was seated for the trial yesterday.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) - Berkshire County is under a red flag warning this morning because of the potential for brushfires. Forecasters say conditions are dry in the area and the winds could gust to 45 miles-an-hour -- conditions they say could help any fire spread quickly.

LUNENBURG, Mass. (AP) - A Lunenburg woman faces attempted murder and other charges after police say she attacked her live-in boyfriend with an ax. Rhonda Ravani also used the ax to damage a neighbor's home. A judge has ordered her to undergo a competency evaluation. Robert Volpe remains hospitalized in critical condition after being hit in the neck.

BOSTON (AP) - The number of homeless Massachusetts families living in motels is beginning to decline. State officials say the number has dropped roughly 20 percent since its peak in December, when roughly 2,000 families found temporary housing in hotels or motels, and an equal number in family shelters.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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