LANSING, Mich., May 18, 2021 — State Reps. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores) and Tommy Brann (R-Wyoming) introduced bipartisan legislation to promote adopting dogs and cats used for laboratory research. The legislation would also establish basic, yearly reports about the animals that are successfully adopted. The bills will be known as “Teddy’s Law” in honor of a beagle who was rescued from euthanasia at a Michigan laboratory in 2018.
House Bill 4881, sponsored by Hertel, would require a research facility to offer the animal to a rescue or animal shelter located in Michigan for adoption before euthanizing after the animal is retired unless euthanizing the animal is required for health or safety reasons. The bill also offers civil immunity for both the research facilities and animal shelters from the transfer of animals if they acted in good faith concerning the health and physical condition of the animal.
“Michigan has countless families that want to provide loving homes for animals used in research. Our bills will ensure that these dogs and cats make it to their forever homes,” said Hertel. “This is common-sense, compassionate legislation, and I look forward to its passage.”
House Bill 4882, sponsored by Brann, would require research facilities using dogs and cats to submit an annual report to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, including information about those animals adopted in the preceding year. It would also establish penalties for research institutions that fail to follow the adoption standards.
“Adoption programs, in addition to benefiting the animals, can decrease stress and improve morale among laboratory workers,” said Brann. “Passage of this legislation is a win for dogs and cats in Michigan laboratories and the workers who form bonds with these animals.”
Thirteen states, including Minnesota, Illinois and, most recently, Virginia, have passed similar legislation. Additionally, there are several research facilities across the United States that have instituted successful adoption programs for dogs, cats and other animals. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and several local animal protection shelters and rescue organizations located throughout Michigan support the bill.
“Michigan is the number one state where laboratory testing is conducted on dogs and cats,” said Molly Tamulevich, Michigan State Director for HSUS. “This legislation would ensure that these animals are at least given the chance to play, rest and experience love that doesn’t end with a painful procedure.”