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Shelter Costs May be Coming to Pet Owners Mistreating Animals

Dec 30 | 2021  by

Recently, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a pair of bills that, if signed into law, would shift the burden of shelter care costs of an abused animal from the local animal control agency to the party being charged.

HB 4703 and HB 4704 would require the owner to post a bond for the animal’s care (Veterinary treatment, behavior changes, safe shelter). If the owner doesn’t pay an appropriate amount of restitution, the animal will be put up for adoption or euthanized. The amount of bond or deposit will be determined by the court.

Shelter puppies in a group

The bills were both approved by a vote of 91-14. Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor voted against with concerns that some owners can’t afford the cost of shelter, and those shelters have other ways to attract money from local communities. However, shelter representatives say that there are not enough resources.

According to the Vice President at Michigan Humane, funding for animal care primarily comes from donations and taxes. But it can easily cost thousands of dollars to provide the necessary care to one cruelty case animal, including shelter, medical and behavioral care. On top of that, Michigan Humane receives 5,000 cruelty complaints per year, but only has five investigators and three field agents on rescue calls.

Defendants should pay for the animal’s care, but euthanasia should not be used as a punishment for nonpayment.