Lucido proposes legislation to protect animals from abuse

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published August 5, 2019

 State Sen. Peter Lucido hopes that new legislation he plans to introduce will help prevent animal abuse.

State Sen. Peter Lucido hopes that new legislation he plans to introduce will help prevent animal abuse.

Photo provided by William Ivan


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — State Sen. Peter Lucido recently announced that he is introducing legislation meant to help protect animals from abuse.

“When I ran on my campaign, I never forgot about the family pet,” said Lucido.

His first proposal would require veterinarians in the state to report suspected animal abuse.

“Michigan veterinarians are not currently required to report any suspected animal abuse they find during their work, even though they are perhaps the most qualified individuals to spot it,” Lucido, R-Shelby Township, stated in a press release. “My bill would change this by requiring veterinarians to report suspected abuse.”

In May, the senator announced similar legislation that would require employees of Child Protective Services to report suspected animal abuse during investigations of child abuse.

“Animal abuse and child abuse often go hand in hand, and this bill would help protect our pets like the beloved family members that they are,” said Lucido. “I believe all life has value and we should do what we can to protect it.”    

The proposed bill would require employees who discover or suspect animal abuse to report it to law enforcement or animal control within 72 hours.    

Lucido recently was named as a member of the newly formed animal abuse task force called P.A.W.S., or Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety, which reportedly is the first multijurisdictional animal abuse prevention task force in the state.

The task force will address animal abuse and work to prevent future abuse through education, training and legislative efforts.

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith, who worked with the community to put P.A.W.S. together, said he is happy to see Lucido taking action.

“Southeast Michigan has seen a spike in cases involving animal abuse and neglect,” Smith said in a press release. “In Macomb County, we started our Animal Abuse Task Force — P.A.W.S. — to bring an end to inhumane actions toward animals. I applaud Sen. Lucido for taking the lead and working to provide a legislative tool to ensure our beloved companions don’t fall victim to additional neglect.”

Lucido’s second bill would regulate animal rescue operations to help prevent them from breeding animals.

“There is currently a lack of oversight when it comes to animal rescue operations,” Lucido said in a press release. “In some cases, some of these operations are abusing their roles and are breeding the rescued animals, and then passing off the offspring as ‘rescues.’ I believe more must be done to ensure what they are doing is on the up-and-up and to help protect these animals.”

“I’m not saying they are all bad, but we need strict compliance, and they need to be inspected and comply to have these pets adopted out to loving and caring homes, and as a result that’s why groups are all on board with this legislation,” Lucido said in a phone interview. “The bill will bring awareness to a community, to someone that has a shelter, that they need to be compliant with the law, and if they don’t, we have to fix what’s happening.”

According to the press release, the bill would require animal rescues to register their operations with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and report all animal intake, movement and other actions.

“Michigan Humane is supportive of a state statute that will bring appropriate and much-needed oversight to Michigan’s home-based rescues,” Matt Pepper, president and CEO of the Michigan Humane Society, said in the press release. “As home-based rescues become more prominent, we believe that it is critically important that all animal welfare organizations be held to the same animal care standards.”

Ken Kempkens, the director of the Humane Society of Macomb, shared his thoughts on the proposal.

“At the Humane Society of Macomb, we totally support the efforts of Sen. Pete Lucido. He has long been a champion for animal rights. Holding rescues to the same standards that shelters comply with will ensure better conditions for the animals and cut down on the hoarding situations that develop. We encourage everyone who cares about animal welfare to support this bill and call their state senator and tell them to vote for the bill,” said Kempkens.

Lucido said he hopes the new bills will be formally introduced soon.

“Who is speaking for the pets if it’s not us?” he said.

For more information, call Lucido at (517) 373-7670 or toll free at (855) DIST-008.