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    In 2011 an unidentified person approached an 11-year-old Husky, Logan, while the dog was sleeping in his kennel for the night and spilled battery acid over the dogs face. Logan fought for three months before finally losing the battle to the infection and passed away while lying with his head on his owners feet, the place where he liked to lay since he as a small puppy. Logan and his owners will never see justice for what happened to him; his attacker will never be caught (1).

    .

    Animal abuse is a crime that has not been well enforced. According to the Humane Society in Michigan alone there are over 5,000 animal cruelty complaints each year, about 13 complaints a day (2). Half of these complaints were due to animals having no shelter, food, or water; things that are needed for life. These animal owners are subject to being charged with animal abuse and may get charged for either a misdemeanor or felony, pay a fine, and/or serve time in prison. After going through the court process convicted animal abusers are allowed to get another animal.

    Logan’s Law, HB 4534 & HB 4535 sponsored by Representative Muxlow (R-Brown City) and Representative Harvey Santana (D-Detroit), is a set of bills that would create a public registry for convicted Animal Abusers banning them from purchasing an animal for 5 years from the day of their registry, which must be within 14 days after their final court appearance if convicted of being guilty or 14 days after they are released from incarceration for their crime. When registering, the offender must submit 5 items for the Animal Abuser’s Registry: their residential address, a photo to be taken when registering, social security number, date of birth, and finger prints. Not all of this information will be available to the public; the public will only be able to access the name, date of birth, and zip code of the offender.

    The offender must also pay a fine of $250 per year while on the registry to the department of the State Police, as they will be the ones who will monitor the program. $150 of that fine will go to the Animal Abuse Offenders registration, which will be the program and database that runs the registry and will also train the officials who would run the program. Of the money that is left over at the end of the year, that money will roll over into the fund for the next fiscal year and not be rolled over in to the State’s General Fund. However, $50 of the fine will go to the Department of Treasury for the State General Fund. Finally, another $50 will go to the local court and law enforcement agency that handled the case to help assist for the work they did. Consequently, the Animal Abuse Registry would be paid for by the animal abusers making it a self-funding program and would not become another program for the taxpayers of Michigan to pay for.

    The state of Michigan is on the forefront of this issue as no other state in the country has a program of this nature. This would be an opportunity for Michigan to lead the country and set precedence to keep animals safe from those who want to harm them. This legislation is comparable to the Sex Offenders Registry —it’s here to keep the innocent safe.

    Both HB 4534 and HB 4535 are cleanbills, meaning there are no provisions in there that are log rolled. This means that legislators will be voting either for against the bills with no riders attached.

    There is opposition however to this set of bills. The main criticisms are that the laws would stigmatize those convicted on isolated animal neglect cases. Another concern presented by Michigan Association of Pure Bred Dogs was that there would actually be little done due to how few cases actually make it to court and people prosecuted (3). Another concern that is being raised is that this is just one more step closer to having animals classified as humans under law. These concerns are going to need to be addressed.  

    As of March 1, 2014, HB 4534 was referred for a second reading to the House Judiciary Committee. HB 4534 on the other hand has been in limbo since April 11, 2013, after the House Judiciary Committee read it for the first time. I can speculate that HB 4534 will move through the House Judiciary Committee and HB 4535 will soon follow, as the two are attached.

    Citations

    (1)  http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20130606/NEWS04/306060023/Logan-s-Law-would-create-animal-abuser-registry

    (2)           http://www.michiganhumane.org/site/PageServer?pagename=cruelty#.UwpBTnlcTso

    (3)           http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20130606/NEWS04/306060023/Logan-s-Law-would-create-animal-abuser-registry

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    Jocelyn Cutean serves as Morality and Family policy correspondent for the Michigan Policy Network. She is a first-year student at Michigan State, majoring in Theatre and English. Jocelyn has experience working on the executive board of the Waterford Chapter Coalition for Youth. She has also piloted a grant funded city wide public service announcement entitled, "It Just Wasn't Worth It" which exposes the repercussions of driving while intoxicated. Jocelyn enjoys art of all forms, from writing to performance.