Yesterday, a bill was introduced in the Michigan House that would place arbitrary limits on when a dog can be outside. As proposed, the measure would have a significant negative impact on many Michigan residents who own and/or breed dogs, as well as those who participate in outdoor activities with their dogs.
Among other provisions, House Bill 5577 would make it illegal for a dog to be outside and unattended for more than 30 minutes in “extreme weather conditions”, which it defines to include temperatures below 32 degrees and above 90 degrees, among other conditions. The bill further states that “unattended” means any time a dog is not in the visual range of the owner/handler, regardless of whether the dog has access to a shelter or kennel.
Other provisions include amending the definition of “suitable shelter” and provisions regarding the handling of dogs during emergencies.
The AKC agrees that no dog should ever be left in dangerous weather where their health and safety are at risk. 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 would punish those who participate in a wide range of outdoor activities with their dogs, including those for which careful acclimatization is necessary, including field trials, sledding events, and other similar activities.
What You Can Do:
House Bill 5577 has been assigned to the House Agriculture Committee and is not scheduled for a hearing. AKC understands that the Chairwoman is sympathetic and understanding of the many unintended consequences of this bill.
AKC encourages concerned residents to respectfully contact the committee, share your concerns about the proposal, and urge them to not let the bill advance. When contacting the chairwoman, please thank her for understanding the concerns with the bill.
Committee Chair, Rep. Julie Alexander
Rep. Mike Mueller
Rep. Beau LaFace
Rep. Michele Hoitenga
Rep. Gary Eisen
Rep. Pauline Wendzel
AKC Government Relations will continue to monitor this bill. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.