Leaving Animals in Cars Can Be a Felony in Michigan

Two new proposed bills may impose the highest penalties in the country for leaving animals locked in cars.

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Two new bills—SB930 and SB931—were recently proposed to the Michigan state senate that would make leaving animals in cars under dangerous conditions a felony. While 16 states already have similar legislation, these bills make it so negligent that parties can be fined up to $5,000 and serve five years in prison if an animal dies in the vehicle, or up to $1,000 and one year in prison should the animal sustain injury as a result. Under the proposed legislation, first-time offenders would be fined $350 and spend up to 45 days in jail while a second offense is punishable by a $500 fine and 90 days behind bars. Recently, vegan football player Tyrann Mathieu appeared in a video wherein he sat in a hot car to bring awareness to the issue of the horror animals experience when left in vehicles for even a short period of time. If passed, these bills would impose the highest penalties in the country for such offenses and are a step toward recognizing that animals have rights and are not property.