Bill To Keep Dogs Safe In Extreme Weather Introduced In Michigan

Bring Fido inside, or face jail time

WWJ News
March 04, 2020 - 5:32 pm
sad dog outside

LANSING (WWJ) - New legislation introduced in Lansing is intended to protect pets from potentially deadly weather conditions. 

Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township) who put forth the bill, says the current laws are too vague to allow officers to act when a pet owner leaves a dog outside in the extreme heat or cold.

"Authorities try to do something about it, but oftentimes police can't issue a ticket or any other type of citation, because there are no standards," Camilleri told WWJ Newsradio 950's Sandra McNeill.

Camilleri's proposed law, he explained, would require Michiganders to bring their dogs inside when temperatures reach higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit or fall below freezing, which is 32 degrees. 

"We've seen just, you know, so many cruel situations," Camilleri said. "Whether it's too hot or too cold, we just want to make sure that we're keeping everybody safe, and also empowering pet owners to be the best pet owners that they can be." 

While there are currently no Michigan laws expressly prohibiting owners from leaving dogs outside in extreme temperatures, Nevada, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts have all enacted specific weather-related statutes. Camilleri’s bill closely mirrors Libre’s Law in Pennsylvania, which was enacted in 2017 to better protect dogs in dangerous weather conditions.

"Other states have already enacted these exact same standards," Camilleri said, "so we don't think that this should be that controversial." 

It passed, the penalty would be up to 93 days in jail and a $1,000 for one dog, moving up to 7 years in prison and $10,000 for offenders with more than 25 animals.

The bill now moves on to committee for consideration.