Legal Edge: What laws protect animals from the elements?

News

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – With the recent cold spell behind us, many Michiganders wonder what laws are on the books to protect pets from harsh weather. Local legal expert Bryan Waldman explains.

“Some states have very specific laws regarding dogs and (weather.) Michigan does not,” said Waldman.

The only real laws Michigan has regarding pets is that an animal must be provided with “adequate food, water, shelter and veterinary care.

If a person or persons is found with 1-3 animals that do not meet this standard of care, it’s a felony. Four or more is a misdemeanor.

Last October, officials responded to an animal welfare call in Haslett.

Once officers confirmed the condition of the home and the animals, search warrants were received to remove large breed dogs from two houses.

Animal Control Officers seized more than 30-adult dogs and puppies, including some with serious health concerns.

Michigan does have specific laws that deal with torturing, harming or killing “companion animals,” said Waldman.

Companion animals are any kind of animal that would typically be a pet or live indoors.

Harming a companion animal is a felony, but it’s difficult to prove.

Around nine states have laws about keeping dogs indoors during dangerous weather.

Last year, Michigan representatives introduced a bill that would essentially adopt Pennsylvania’s laws regarding keeping animals outside, which makes it illegal to keep dogs outside in weather below 32 degrees or above 90 degrees for more than 30 minutes.

The law is not in place, however.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Michigan Headlines

More Michigan

StormTracker 6 Radar