Legislators Push to Protect Animals

Legislation would establish broad animal protections, set clear standards on animal abuse
Thursday, May 16, 2019

LANSING — State Reps. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn), Tim Sneller (D-Burton), Jim Ellison (D-Royal Oak) Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park), Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia), Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), and Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) introduced animal protection proposals to address broad animal safety topics and concerns.

“This bill package would prevent unnecessary and avoidable harm to animals, while establishing clear standards for animal protection and safety,” said Hammoud. “Our plan will bring animal abusers to justice and protect the thousands of animals that are abused each day across our state. I am proud this team of legislators and stakeholders was able to come together, analyze deficiencies in current law and propose realistic solutions to these often overlooked issues.”

The bills included in the package are:

  • HB 4592 (Rep. Hammoud): Allows a court to appoint a pro-bono lawyer or law student in a criminal prosecution case to advocate for the interests of animals on cruelty concerns, welfare or custody.
  • HB 4593 (Rep. Sneller): Bans veterinarians from performing a devocalization procedure on animals, unless for an exempt medical purpose.
  • HB 4594 (Rep. Ellison): Bans the private ownership of non-human primates, which often become more aggressive as they age, can transmit dangerous viral diseases to humans, and are difficult to provide adequate conditions for.
  • HB 4595 (Rep. Liberati): Allows municipalities to regulate, but not ban, the keeping of pigeons, allowing local communities to determine best standards.
  • HB 4596 (Rep. Pohutsky): Places certain standards on individuals and organizations who provide care to “community cats,” defined as “free-roaming cats that do not have a visibly discernable, or microchip, identification and are cared for by one or more residents.” It would also clarify that taking in a community cat, sterilizing it and then releasing it back into the wild would not be considered abandonment of the cat.
  • HB 4496 (Rep. Hertel): Mandates that cats and dogs used in laboratory testing are released to a shelter in the state of Michigan following the tests’ completion.
  • HB 4455 (Rep. Kuppa): Designates the shelter pet as the official state pet of Michigan.

“More often than not, exotic animal ownership leads to serious problems for both the animals and their owners,” said Ellison. “When owners realize they can’t control exotic animals, or worse if an incident occurs, law enforcement and our zoos ultimately have to intervene and resolve the situation — often at significant cost and risk to the public.”

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