Leaving pets in a hot car could bring felony charges

Posted at 11:40 PM, May 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 00:34:24-04

LANSING, Mich. — Tougher penalties proposed by two lawmakers would make it a felony to leave your pet in a hot car causing death.

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, and Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-Lansing, recently introduced the bills in hopes of cutting down on potential dangers.

"Everyone should know because it's been widely broadcast that children have died in cars, pets are the same way," Jones said.

Offenders wouldn't be charged immediately with a felony if a pet survives being trapped inside a car.

"If you leave a dog out in the car and the dog is suffering, it could be a $350 fine and a misdemeanor," Jones said. "If the dog is severely injured, it could be a $1,000 dollar fine and a misdemeanor, and if you kill the dog by leaving it out there it would rise to a felony."

At the Hillcrest Dog Park in Grand Rapids, many dog owners agree with the proposed legislation.

Krystina Blakely, the proud owner of her 2-year-old cattle dog and boxer mix, said she assumed penalties were already in place for neglectful pet owners.

"They can’t get out of a hot car on their own, so the fact that they have been working to protect animals in that situation is definitely important to me," Blakely said. "I think they definitely deserve advocacy in their own protections because they can’t advocate for themselves."

Further discussion on the two bills is expected to happen in Lansing later this month.

Click here to view Senate Bill 0930 and click here to view Senate Bill 0931.