Animal Cruelty Legislation Delayed
Current Michigan law says that anyone convicted of mutilating or killing an animal can be sentenced to prison for up to four years. There is a current Senate bill aimed at increasing penalties and reclassifying aspects of the law. However, voting on the bill has been delayed.
The new laws would institute harsher penalties for individuals convicted of abusing or neglecting more than 10 animals. The law is aimed at covering breeders and pet shop owners. In addition, prison time would be increased from 4 to 10 years in certain circumstances. For instance, if the animal in question was a pet, and the accused harmed it in order to threaten or get revenge on another person.
While this may seem like a strange reason to harm an animal, it is in fact a very sad reality here in Michigan. The connection between animal cruelty and domestic violence is considerable higher than many people realize.
Statistics from the American Humane Association, a non-profit based in Washington, D.C., show that 71% of female, pet owning, domestic abuse victims in shelters reported that their abuser had “injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims.” Another frightening statistic shows that between 25 and 40% of abused women cannot escape their abusive situations because they fear for the lives of their pets or livestock.
Michigan claims to be a zero tolerance state when it comes to animal abuse, which is why many people are upset about the current delay in voting. The delay is apparently the result of majority Republican senators who had concerns about the bills which were raised in a recent closed-door meeting.
No date has been given for when the Senate intends to readdress these bills, and what kinds of changes would need to be made in order to satisfy both the Republican and the Democratic Senators. We will keep you updated on any future changes to the law with regards to this issue.