Animal Abuse Laws in Michigan

This is an image of my dog who is definitely not abused or neglected, but he was rescued from a shelter when he was only 8 weeks old.

Madison Mitchell

This is an image of my dog who is definitely not abused or neglected, but he was rescued from a shelter when he was only 8 weeks old.

Madison Mitchell, Flash Reporter

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Animal abuse has become a huge issue in the world. Animals are subjected to abuse, neglect, and assault each day and can go unnoticed or unpunished. The Michigan Humane Society responds to many animal abuse cases: they receive an estimated 150 calls dealing with dog fights every year. Abuse has become a huge problem, even here in Michigan, that has fought its way to the government. Laws have been put in place to help stop these criminal acts. But the abuse has not stopped completely. We as a community and as a state must push for harsher laws and policies against animal abuse to help end the madness.

Many states have started charging animal abuse as a felony; yet, some states are not on board. Many cases are also seen as complicated to charge with the proper punishment, therefore letting the offenders off the hook. In other cases, the offenders leave the scene of their crime for others to pick up the pieces while they remain unprosecuted for their crimes. For example, the Michigan Humane Society discovered three cats who were thrown out a car window while the abuser drove away. The cats were taken into the MHS facilities to be taken care of and to find new homes; however, justice for those animals was not served for their previous owner who committed the crime was not caught.

Luckily, animal activist groups and organizations have been pushing for convictions against animal abusers. The MHS worked to charge a man for brutally killing his mother’s dog; the man was sentenced to two years in prison as punishment for his actions after his mother willingly testified against him.

Although progress has been made to get harsher punishments for animal abuse crimes, there are still many cases reported daily. According to an excerpt of the Michigan Penal Code in section 750.50, if over four animals are involved in an abuse crime, with the offender having a prior conviction, the act will be charged as a felony crime. An abuse crime which involves less than four animals is only considered a misdemeanor under Michigan’s state law.

In order to prevent more of these malicious crimes, we as a community must push for Michigan’s Legislature to increase the punishments for animal abuse and charge any offense as a felony crime, not a misdemeanor. Animal lives should be treated as a priority in communities everywhere. Michigan must take action to ensure that all lives are to be treated with respect.  

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