A bill has been introduced in Michigan that could have a negative impact on many Michigan residents who own, breed, and train dogs.
Senate Bill 395 has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee, and the chairman has been a strong supporter of responsible dog owners, breeders, and sportsmen. Concerned Michigan dog owners are encouraged to contact the committee and respectfully thank the chairman and encourage the committee to continue supporting responsible owners by opposing bills such as Senate Bill 395.
Among other provisions, Senate Bill 395 states that when the outside temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, a dog may be outside for a maximum of 30 consecutive minutes and then the dog must be brought inside an enclosure heated to at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes. Those participating in “recreational activities” – including hiking, hunting, mushing, and playing outside with your dog – are exempt.
The AKC agrees that no dog should ever be left in dangerous weather where their health and safety are at risk. We also appreciate the exemptions in the bill for recreational activities.
However, because this bill defines extreme weather to include arbitrary temperature ranges, it does not fully take into account that certain breeds and dogs can thrive outside these temperatures. Likewise, it does not consider that some breeds require a more moderate climate and even a brief time in temperatures permitted under this proposal could jeopardize the dog’s health. Additionally, it does not seem to take into account instances when dogs are humanely kept outside for the purpose of training/acclimation for performing tasks in certain temperatures (this includes search and rescue, sporting activities, etc).
What You Can Do:
Senate Bill 395 has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee and is not scheduled for a hearing. The chairman has long been a strong supporter of AKC clubs and responsible dog owners in Michigan. Both AKC and the Michigan Association for Pure-Bred Dogs are closely monitoring this bill, and no action is required at this time.
Those who wish to may contact the committee, share your concerns about the proposal, and urge them to not let the bill advance. Let them know the steps you take to protect your dog outdoors and that you and your club can be an expert resource on dog issues brought before the committee.
When contacting the chairman, please also thank him for understanding the concerns with the bill and his continued support of AKC clubs and responsible dog owners. When contacting the sponsor, respectfully let her know you share her concerns about dogs being left in unsafe conditions, and how this bill would impact responsible dog owners.
If you are a constituent of a committee member, use the form provided to contact the members. Otherwise, use the following contact information:
Kevin Daley (Chair – Lapeer County)
Roger Victory (Majority Vice Chair – Hudsonville)
Dayna Polehanki (Minority Vice Chair – Livonia)
Sponsor of SB 395
Winnie Brinks (Grand Rapids)
Dan Lauwers (Brockway Township)
AKC Government Relations and Michigan Association for Pure-Bred Dogs will continue to monitor this bill. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.