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Bipartisan bills would crack down on animal abusers

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved legislation that would allow animal control organizations and pet shelters to perform criminal history background checks on potential owners.

“I have always been an animal lover,” said Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “My wife and I proudly rescued our first dog Riley, and just recently adopted a second named Bo. I was happy to support these bills to help make sure that we are doing everything we can to keep animals out of the hands of convicted animal abusers.”

Senate Bill 220 would allow nonprofit animal shelters and animal control organizations to access the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) database free of charge. The groups could use the ICHAT system to perform a name-based search of an individual’s criminal history when deciding whether to allow the person to adopt an animal.

“This legislation allows nonprofit organizations that adopt out pets, such as animal shelters, to freely access the Michigan State Police database that stores data on animal abusers,” Horn said. Allowing these organizations to see the criminal history of animal abusers gives them a tool to stop an adoption before it is too late.”

Under SB 219, if a person is convicted of animal abuse offenses, the court shall, as a condition of probation, order the offender to not own or possess an animal for a period of time. The court would be required to prohibit repeat offenders from owning or possessing an animal for at least five years after the sentencing date or the date of release from incarceration, whichever is later.

“We need to prevent the easy adoption of dogs and cats from shelters by convicted abusers,” Horn said. “It has been well-documented that a person who abuses animals often later moves onto humans, and we cannot give these people easy access to another victim. I’m proud to have joined the bipartisan effort to protect our four-legged friends.”

The bills, which have come to be known as “Logan’s Law,” have been sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.