State of Michigan To Vote On Bill That Would Make Abandoning Animals In Hot Vehicles A Felony Offense
The Michigan legislature is considering a pair of bills that would make abandoning an animal inside a locked car a felony offense, if the animal’s life is determined to be in danger. They would join 16 other states with similar laws, making it illegal to keep a dog, cat, or other domestic animal in a car in conditions that might endanger its “health or well-being.”
“We just think in situations where there is obvious potential harm that we shouldn’t be allowing that in Michigan,” Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-Lansing.
The language of the bill states that a person can’t:
“Leave or confine an animal in an unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of the animal, including, but not limited to, heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death of the animal.”
If an animal dies inside a vehicle, the person who left the dog, cat, or other domestic animal there could face a jail sentence of up to five years, or be fined as much as $5,000.
Even if the animal doesn’t die, first offenders could get a $350 fine or a month and a half in jail. Second-time offenders could get three months in prison, or fined up to $500.
Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, sponsored a sister bill that establishes sentencing guidelines. “I believe that we as a human race should be concerned about animal abuse,” he said. “Animal abusers many times graduate to people abusers. Years of research backs up Sen. Jones claim that abusing animals is often a warning sign of abusing people.
What do you think? Is it time more states made leaving animals abandoned in hot vehicles a felony offense?
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