By Sheryl Levitt
Listen Up, Lansing staff reporter
Animal cruelty and neglect are not tolerated in Lansing. Under Michigan law, it is illegal to torture, unnecessarily inflict pain, or kill an animal without a justifiable cause.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund ranked Michigan as one of the “Best Five States” for animals in its 2014 annual rankings report.
“Michigan is one of the states with the most detail in our laws that allow law enforcement to take action,” said David Favre, a law professor and animal law expert at Michigan State University.
Favre said that in larger cities, such as Detroit, animal fighting is one of the biggest issues. Although Lansing is much smaller, there are still scattered gang issues involving pit bull-fighting.
“The problem is, it’s a secretive process, so it takes undercover investigation to find these things,” Favre said.
He said that in most places, the biggest hurdle is getting animal cruelty and neglect cases to court. In Lansing however, there are prosecutors willing to handle these proceedings.
Favre said that punishments for animal abuse could result in a felony with the possibility of up to four years of jail. For animal neglect, there is the threat of a misdemeanor fine and six months of jail, with repeat offenders receiving increased levels of punishment.