Brittny K. Harris, Esq.
The Michigan Legislature recently passed "Logan's Law," which ensures that animal abusers would be prohibited from adopting pets from a shelter for 5 years after their conviction. Logan's Law was inspired by Logan, an 11-year-old husky who was attacked with acid in the middle of the night. The perpetrator was never found, and Logan sustained serious injuries that resulted in his untimely death a few days later.
As a result, animal lovers banded together in support of this legislation, which requires people convicted of animal abuse to sign up with the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) database, a state-wide registry. ICHAT is already used for general criminal backgrounds, and is easily accessed by both criminal justice personnel and the public. In addition, animal shelters and animal control organizations would be required to check ICHAT before finalizing an adoption, and if a person was convicted of an animal abuse offense within the past five years, they would be barred from adopting a pet.
The law has been widely misinterpreted as a ban on sodomy, which was already ruled unconstitutional in 2003 by the Supreme Court. Legislators who voted in favor of the bill stated that the reasons for not changing the sodomy language was to ensure that the bill would pass, and that reaffirming existing language that has been held unconstitutional was a safer strategy than amending the language and risking a veto.