Michigan Pushes For Felony Charges When Owners Leave Pets in Cars

Diana Faria
by Diana Faria
Tired of hearing about pets who die in hot cars? So are two Michigan lawmakers who have introduced bills that will make this crime a felony carrying a 5-year prison term.

Slowly but surely, measures have been taken to ensure that our furry friends are not left unattended in an extremely hot or cold car. Just a few weeks ago, Florida introduced a new law that would allow citizens to legally break into a car should they see a suffering animal inside.

Thanks to a pair of Senate bills being introduced by two Michigan lawmakers this week (bill numbers SB930 and SB931), leaving your dog or cat inside a vehicle under unsafe conditions would be illegal and if you’re found guilty, you could face up to five years in prison.

Related: New Florida Law Allows You To Break Into Cars To Save Dogs

This new bill states that a person cannot “…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.”

A first offender would be stuck with a $350 fine and/or up to 45 days in jail. A second offence would be hit with a $500 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail. If the dog suffers serious harm, it is punishable by up to a year in prison, plus a $1,000 fine. Finally, if the confinement results in animal death, the offender would be slapped with a $5,000 fine or face up to 5 years in prison.

Senator Rick Jones sponsored an accompanying bill to establish these sentencing guidelines. It’s one of many animal-related bills he has sponsored.

“I believe that we as a human race should be concerned about animal abuse. Animal abusers many times graduate to people abusers,” Jones said in regards to the legislation.

Related: What You Need To Know About Heat Stroke In Dogs

This bill great news for pooches because with the charges potentially escalating into a felony charge, owners are less likely to leave their dogs inside cars. Back in 2009, a chihuahua died after being left in a hot car in Grand Rapids and the maximum charges available under other anti-animal cruelty statues were up to a $2,000 fine and 1 year in jail.

At the moment, the existing law only states that if a person leaves a child in unsafe conditions inside a vehicle, they can face up to a $10,000 fine and/or 15 years in jail. Hopefully this new bill makes owners more aware of the dangers of leaving their dogs in extremely hot or cold conditions, especially when they can face prison time if they are harmed.

[ Source: MLive ]

Diana Faria
Diana Faria

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