The Michigan Senate has unanimously approved two bills strengthening penalties for animal abuse and neglect.
“There have been some recent cases of severe neglect found in pet stores in the metro Detroit area that made legislatures think that the law needs to be strengthened,” said Jill Fritz, Senior State Director for the Humane Society of the United States.
According to Fritz, the legislation also toughens penalties for organizations that allow animal abuse.
“The new law, SB 285 & SB 286, creates a penalty for 5 or more violations of the pet shops, dog pounds and animal shelters law imprisonment up to 2 years and a fine of up to $5,000,” said Fritz.
Detroit isn’t the only area where there has been repeated animal neglect . This summer Roscommon and Montmorency county both had a severe puppy mill incidents.
State Senator Steve Bieda, who sponsored the legislation, says the bills give prosecutors the power they need to go after animal abusers.
“Some of the cases, I’m not going to reiterate them… they’re just simply disgusting what these people were doing. It really provided a lot of the push behind this.”
According to Fritz, toughening penalties for animal abusers can prevent other types of crime, including domestic abuse.
She points to a study conducted by the Chicago Police Department.
“They found almost half of 36 convicted multiple murders that were questioned admitted to committing acts of animal torture at adolescents,” Fritz said. “They looked into 7 school shootings between 1997 and 2001 and all of them involved boys who have previous committed acts of animal cruelty.”
“So people that are a danger to animals are clearly a danger to others and society as large,” she said.
State Sen. Bieda says the legislation now goes to the House Judiciary Committee.
He hopes to see the full house vote on it in December, or early next year.