State lawmakers on both sides of the aisle hope to pass bills by the end of the year meant to crack down on animal cruelty. Michigan is in the minority of states that do not have laws on the books limiting so-called “puppy mills” – and it’s the only one in the Midwest.
Some legislators say that’s attracting disreputable breeders to the state. “As other states around us have put laws into place, they now are moving north into Michigan so that they can operate,” said state Rep. Mike McCready (R- Bloomfield Hills), who says he plans to introduce legislation soon.
“We’ve had a couple of – I call them busts - in the last few months where they’ve found 350 or more dogs living in mud, feces, urinated conditions that aren’t fit.”
State Rep. Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) has already introduced her own version of the “Puppy Protection Act,” a proposal that has been championed by the Michigan Humane Society and other animal welfare groups.
“There are too many puppies in confined areas,” said Greig. “So they don’t have adequate space to move around. They aren’t given exercise. It’s just unsanitary, too.”
House Bill 4761 would set minimum standards for commercial breeding facilities, including the amount of space given to each dog inside a facility, the amount of exercise they’re given, and the amount of time between breeding cycles.
Similar legislation failed to get to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk last year. McCready is also sponsoring legislation that would allow animal shelters to adopt out animals that have been rescued from fighting operations. Under House Bill 4765, the shelter would have to hold the animal for at least 14 days and determine that it is not a threat to public safety.