Michigan Animal Legislation Update

There is a lot of animal legislation pending right now so please read about the laws and how you can help move them along…

SB 285 & SB 286 – Increase penalties for animal cruelty:

SB 285 and SB 286 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 16. The bills amend the animal cruelty statute to include definitions for “breeder” and “pet shop,” and increase penalties for cruelty involving domestic violence and companion animals and cases with large numbers of animals. They are now on the Senate floor awaiting a a full vote in the Senate before moving to the House. CALLS AND EMAILS TO YOUR STATE SENATOR ARE NEEDED NOW! Click here to find out who your representative is.

This dog was rescued from the Jones puppy mill in Missaukee County and taken to an MHS shelter. He is the face of the puppy mill dogs who URGENTLY need the Puppy Mill Protection Act to pass. Photo Credit: Michigan Humane Society

This dog was rescued from the Jones puppy mill in Missaukee County and taken to an MHS shelter. He is the face of the puppy mill dogs who URGENTLY need the Puppy Mill Protection Act to pass. Photo Credit: Michigan Humane Society

SB117 & SB118 – Puppy Protection Act

The Puppy Protection Act (SB 117 and SB 118), which will create a large-scale commercial breeding kennel license and enact annual inspections and standards of care and housing in dog breeding facilities, has been referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee and is awaiting its first hearing. Especially with the recent news of the puppy mill seizure in Missaukee County, the time is NOW to move ahead with this legislation! Click here for the list of people to contact on that committee.

HB4168: Eliminate Requirement that County Sheriff Kill Stray Dogs

It would eliminate the requirement that the County Sheriff kill all unlicensed stray dogs. It is awaiting a hearing in the House Local Government Committee. Yes, the Michigan Dog Law of 1919 actually allows a Sheriff to shoot an unlicensed dog! I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard that this law was on the books. Click here for people to contact on that committee.

SB348: Pet Lemon Law

On May 4, Sen. Steve Bieda introduced SB 348 to provide protection to consumers who purchase sick animals from pet stores or breeders. The bill helps to highlight the inhumane conditions faced by animals in puppy mills and pet stores. It is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee. It does not apply to animal shelters.

SB29: Add Bittering Agents to Antifreeze

This legislation would mandate the addition of a bittering agent to antifreeze sold in Michigan, which is toxic to pets. Because of its sweet taste, many pets end up poisoned every year when they attempt to lick antifreeze that drips under cars. The addition of a bittering agent would be required in all engine coolants sold beginning in 2015. Passed by the Senate. Send to the House and referred to Committee on Regulatory Reform.

HB4534/4535: Animal Abuse Registry (aka “Logan’s Law”)

This would be the first state law of its kind in the nation. It would set up an online registry for convicted violators of Michigan’s animal abuse laws, including convicted for animal fighting, neglect, torture, abandonment, etc. Animal shelters would be required to check the registry before adopting out an animal. MHS feels the bill needs changes, namely those required to check people out to be expanded to include breeders, pet stores and rescue groups; and that entities without the ability to access the online database during offsite adoption events or because of lack of technology be exempted. These bills are awaiting a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.

SB152: MIchigan Humane Society License Plate

This would establish a specialty license plate with funds benefitting MHS. The start-up costs for the plate (several thousand dollars) would be borne by MHS. This bill did not move last session due to opposition by the State Police to more specialty plates in general. This bill has been re-introduced and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee.

 HB4335: Dogs Allowed in Outdoor Restaurant Seating Areas

This bill would allow dogs to be seated with customers at restaurants with outdoor seating. It would not mandate that restaurants allow dogs. This bill is a reintroduction from last session and is awaiting a hearing in the House Tourism Committee.

And now for a recent victory!

Strengthening Michigan’s Dogfighting Laws
Passed and are now a law: SB 356, SB 358, HB 5789

These new laws strengthen dogfighting penalties by prosecuting alleged dogfighters under Michigan’s racketeering statutes, meaning longer prison times and higher fines for those convicted. It attacks the economics of dogfighting by allowing the seizure and forfeiture of property associated with dogfighting, creating a strong disincentive for those who are currently profiting richly from this activity. The laws also allow local authorities to declare dogfighting venues a nuisance and close their doors for good.

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