LANSING — State Reps. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn), Tim Sneller (D-Burton), Jim Ellison (D-Royal Oak) Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park), Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia), Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), and Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) introduced animal protection proposals to address broad animal safety topics and concerns.

“This bill package would prevent unnecessary and avoidable harm to animals, while establishing clear standards for animal protection and safety,” said Hammoud. “Our plan will bring animal abusers to justice and protect the thousands of animals that are abused each day across our state. I am proud this team of legislators and stakeholders was able to come together, analyze deficiencies in current law and propose realistic solutions to these often overlooked issues.”

The bills included in the package are:

  • HB 4592 (Rep. Hammoud): Allows a court to appoint a pro-bono lawyer or law student in a criminal prosecution case to advocate for the interests of animals on cruelty concerns, welfare or custody.
  • HB 4593 (Rep. Sneller): Bans veterinarians from performing a devocalization procedure on animals, unless for an exempt medical purpose.
  • HB 4594 (Rep. Ellison): Bans the private ownership of non-human primates, which often become more aggressive as they age, can transmit dangerous viral diseases to humans, and are difficult to provide adequate conditions for.
  • HB 4595 (Rep. Liberati): Allows municipalities to regulate, but not ban, the keeping of pigeons, allowing local communities to determine best standards.
  • HB 4596 (Rep. Pohutsky): Places certain standards on individuals and organizations who provide care to “community cats,” defined as “free-roaming cats that do not have a visibly discernable, or microchip, identification and are cared for by one or more residents.” It would also clarify that taking in a community cat, sterilizing it and then releasing it back into the wild would not be considered abandonment of the cat.
  • HB 4496 (Rep. Hertel): Mandates that cats and dogs used in laboratory testing are released to a shelter in the state of Michigan following the tests’ completion.
  • HB 4455 (Rep. Kuppa): Designates the shelter pet as the official state pet of Michigan.

“Our animal friends help make us more human; I believe in having compassion towards all living creatures. I’m inspired by Gandhi’s ideals of nonviolence,” said Kuppa. “We need policy that prevents cruelty to animals and helps us to be more compassionate to all creatures. This bill package advances that goal.”