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Michigan a Top Dog in Animal-Protection Laws

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Michigan's animal protection laws are hailed in a new report. (hrikken/morguefile)
Michigan's animal protection laws are hailed in a new report. (hrikken/morguefile)
 By Mary KuhlmanContact
December 17, 2015

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan is a top dog for animal protection laws, according to a new report from the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

The annual list examines which of the 50 states are serious about animal welfare.

Lora Dunn, an attorney with the organization, says Michigan ranked fifth for having felony penalties for a variety of situations including cruelty, neglect, animal fighting and sexual assault.

"In Michigan, courts also may order the forfeiture of abused animals upon conviction,” she points out. “And also the courts may order mental health evaluations or counseling for offenders. "

Dunn notes that every state has room to improve, even those at the top.

Unlike many other states highlighted in the report, Michigan lacks legislation that allows animals to be included in protective orders in cases of domestic violence.

Illinois ranked first for the eighth year in a row, and Kentucky remained the worst state for its ninth consecutive year.

Dunn says Michigan could also improve animal welfare by mandating cost of care recovery for agencies that assist seized animals that had been abused.

"It's really important in these cases to get some of those costs of care that really rack up to be exorbitant amounts, to get those costs back to care-giving agencies so they can continue to help other animals in need," she states.

Other potential improvements listed in the report include the creation of an animal-abuser registry and mandatory reporting of suspected animal abuse by veterinarians.

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