LANSING— Legislation that would allow non-profit organizations that facilitate the adoption of pets to perform criminal history background checks on potential owners was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.
“We were all shocked when we heard a local medical student was found to be adopting Greyhound dogs to abuse and to kill them,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Abuse of animals by sick people does not always stop there.
“From my law enforcement experience I can tell you that some people start with animals and eventually turn to people. Some even turn into infamous serial killers. Historically two widely reported cases were Jeffrey Dahmer and Henry Lee Lucas. Both started as animal abusers.”
Jones has been working with a bipartisan team of legislators to come up with ways to prevent easy adoption of dogs and cats at shelters by convicted abusers. Originally, the group wanted to create an animal abuse registry similar to the sex offender registry. However, it was decided that could be costly and difficult to start up.
After doing more research with the Michigan State Police, Jones now has legislation in the works to solve the problem. Non-profit organizations that adopt out pets will have free access to the Internet Criminal History Access Tool. This will allow them to see the criminal history of animal abusers and stop an adoption before it is too late.
“It is important that we catch animal abusers and get them psychological treatment. It is also important that repeat offenders don’t have an easy source of new victims,” added Jones.
The four bill package containing Senate Bills 378,386,603 and 604 now advances to full Senate for further consideration.