Humane society discusses animal abuse laws

Humane society discusses animal abuse laws

MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) – A case of animal abuse in Genesee County is prompting calls for stricter punishment for the crime, which is currently a 93-day misdemeanor.

“Hearing that dog scream, it just tore at your insides,” said Beth Wellman, the shelter director at the Humane Society of Midland.

A family pet animal abuse caught on camera has again sparked the conversation on animal abuse laws. Currently, those convicted on animal abuse charges only receive a 93-day misdemeanor. Wellman said stricter laws need to be put into place.

“I don’t think there’s any reason ever to commit violence on someone else, but animals especially they have no voice. They can’t go call 911, they have no recourse for themselves. So other people have to, and that law needs to be there to back them up,” Wellman said.

She said the current law is like a slap on the wrist and doesn’t stop an offender for committing another act of abuse in the future.

“They should be charged much more heavily because it is a danger to the public and the animal. If you’re going to do something like that to any living being then you’re likely going to escalate and should be charged as such,” Wellman said.

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson said in a news conference on Tuesday that 70 percent of domestic violence cases include threats against a companion animal.

“Domestic violence and animal violence are often hand-in-hand. That’s why a lot of people stay in domestic violence situations because they have pets or something there and they have no other place to take them, or they don’t want anything to happen to the animal if they were to leave,” Wellman said.

She hopes this case as well as others encourage lawmakers to start taking animal abuse and mistreatment more seriously.

Wellman added that 30 percent of the animals the Humane Society of Midland takes in have been physically abused.

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Humane society discusses animal abuse laws

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