New bill targets animal abuse - WNEM TV 5

New bill targets animal abuse

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A bill making its way through the Michigan legislature could make it tougher for convicted animal abusers to become repeat offenders.

Similar to background checks on guns, the bill would allow humane societies to see who should not be allowed to adopt a pet.

"If our staff is wondering if the adopters are good people, it's one more source to check just to make sure that they don't have any convictions for animal abuse," said Neil Wackerle, president of the Humane Society of Midland.

Here's what the bills propose a mandatory five-year ban and a potential permanent ban for:

  • First offenses:
    • Animal fighting
    • Baiting
    • Killing
    • Torturing
    • Poisoning
  • Second offenses:
    • Failing to provide care
    • Abuse
    • Abandonment
    • Other forms of neglect

Wackerle said that while more resources to background checks are helpful, convicted abusers can find other ways to get animals.

"Well, an abuser isn't going to come to an animal control facility or a reputable shelter to adopt animals, because first of all they can get an animal off of Craigslist for free," Wackerle said.

Animal lovers said they welcome any legislation that would protect these animals.

Savannah Hodges was at the Humane Society taking home a rescue cat.

"Honestly, I think background checks would be great, because if you have anything to hide – if you have a bad background, I don't think you should be able to have an animal, because who knows what you've done and what you will do," Hodges said.

She's said the thought of hurting an animal is unthinkable.

"I can't even imagine doing anything evil to a cat," Hodges said.

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