By CAITLIN DeLUCA
Capital News Service
LANSING — Lawmakers are considering the creation of a new Animal Welfare Commission. The commission would adopt new rules for licensing and inspections for breeders. Its membership would include one member of an animal rescue organization, a U.S. Department of -Agriculture-accredited veterinarian, an academic who specializes in animal welfare, someone representing a statewide hunting organization, two dog breeders and the director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The sponsor ll in the Senate is Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren. The House version’s primary sponsor is Rep. Mike McCready, R-Bloomfield Hills.
CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE
By Lauren Gibbons
LANSING — Long-held misconceptions about pit bull breeds still have negative effects on adoption rates, but increased awareness and community support have somewhat improved the situation, officials from animal shelters statewide say. Since the 1980s, American pit bull terriers and similar breeds have had a reputation for toughness, aggressiveness and violence, leaving them susceptible to exploitation by dog fighters and breeders, said Kevin Hatman, a public relations coordinator for the Michigan Humane Society in Bingham Farms.
That bad reputation comes with a cost — of the estimated 30,000 animals taken into the humane society’s shelters each year, about 30 percent are pit bulls or pit bull mixes, Hatman said. Although some prospective pet owners will take pit bulls into their homes, he said most gravitate toward smaller dogs or avoid the breed. The society has shelters in Detroit, Rochester Hills and Westland. “It’s sad, because they really can be wonderful dogs,” Hatman said.
By XINJUAN DENG
Capital News Service
LANSING– A new legislative proposal would regulate large-scale dog breeders who have more than 15 breeding females to ensure their animals receive proper treatment, including adequate food, water, shelter, regular exercise and veterinary care. The bill would prohibit a dog having more than one litter a year. Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, a co-sponsor of the bill, said, “Current laws do not outline the proper guidelines of care that large commercial breeding kennels have to administer to the dogs and puppies in their custody to ensure that their lives are protected.”
The bill’s sponsors are Sen. Steven Bieda, D-Warren; Sen. Tory Rocca, R-Sterling Heights; and Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake. Michigan State University law professor David Favre who teaches animal law said, “It is a significant step forward for the welfare of commercially bred dogs in Michigan. If as a society we are going to allow massive breeding operations of between 16 and 50 dogs at one place, then society has a duty to impose those standards that will provide a minimum level and welfare protections.”
Under the proposal, violators of the so-called “Puppy Protection Act” could be jailed for 93 days, fined more than $1,000, and lose their breeding license.