STATE NEWS: Animal Shelters in Michigan Can Now Deny Animal Abusers

January 31, 2017
Kerry Lengyel

A new Michigan law allows animal shelters to conduct background checks on potential adopters and deny those convicted of animal abuse within the past 5 years.

If you are a convicted animal abuser, Michigan law now states that animal shelters can deny you the right to adopt an animal.

House Bills 4353 and 4355—two of the four bills in the legislative package known as “Logan’s Law”—were recently signed into law to protect animals in the state.

The two bills passed with strong bipartisan support in late December and will take effect at the end of March.

HB 4355 states that an animal control shelter or animal protection shelter may “conduct a search using ICHAT [Internet Criminal History Access Tool, run by the Michigan State Police] to determine whether that individual has a prior criminal history for an animal abuse offense.”

HB 4353 states that an animal control shelter or animal protection shelter may “choose not to allow an individual who has been convicted of an animal abuse offense to adopt an animal unless a period of at least 5 years has elapsed since the date of his or her conviction.”

“Logan’s Law” was created to honor the memory of a Siberian husky named Logan, who was abused by an unknown assailant in 2012. Logan had battery acid thrown on his face while sleeping in his outdoor kennel one night, causing him to lose his eyesight. Logan suffered serious burns and passed away 6 months later due to complications resulting from his injuries.

Logan’s family, Matt and Nancy Falk, put this legislation into motion to keep animals up for adoption out of the hands of convicted animal abusers.

The bills were originally going to require criminal history checks before pet adoption, but the passed legislation was amended to state that such checks are allowable.

Many in Michigan are hopeful that these new laws will set a precedent for other states.

Matt Falk shared his excitement at the news of the passing bills on Facebook: “I need to thank the one that has inspired me to take on this whole thing…. Logan! What a great dog he was. So thanks for being you Logi. You did not die in vain.”