S.B. 316 (“Spearing Sleeping Frogs”)
Summary of Bill:
Our second Legislative Video is a call-to-action on behalf of Michigan’s frogs. Currently, they receive minimal protections under the state’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.
S.B. 316 wipes out these protections, and would allow hunting year-round (including during breeding season and when they are hibernating) and using artificial lights. Note: under current law, spearing (“gigging”) of these creatures is allowed, subject to the current minimal limitations on season and use of lights.
But even these minimal protections are under attack. The bill is bad news: it would repeal the law that protects populations and minimizes suffering of frogs. Read the testimony of the Detroit Zoo’s Director of the National Amphibian Conservation Society here.
While there are indications that the state’s Natural Resources Commission (NRC) Michigan Department of Natural Resources (M-DNR) would not take immediate steps to expand the hunt, S.B. 316 represents a trend of the Michigan legislature abdicating its oversight of hunting, and turning over more and more control to the unelected NRC and to the M-DNR with their bias toward consumptive use of our state’s natural resources.
Bill Status (as of November 8, 2017):
The bill has passed the state Senate and has been voted out of the House Natural Resources Committee. It could be voted on at any time and with little or no notice by the full House of Representatives. (Because of technical changes made by the House Committee, it would have to go back to the Senate, if passed out of the House).
However, the best opportunity to stop S.B. 316 is in the full House. And it’s now.
What you Can Do:
Michigan residents: contact your state representative as soon as possible and ask her/him to oppose S.B. 316 should it come to a vote in the House. If you don’t know who that is, look here.
Suggested talking points:
- Michigan’s frog populations are in decline (according to a 2016 study by the state’s DNR); at best, there’s limited data on other frogs native to Michigan
- Frogs feel pain; they can suffer a slow and painful death
- It’s unsporting: use of a light blinds frogs, giving them little chance to escape
Attorneys for Animals voted to oppose the bill and testified at Committee hearings in both chambers when they considered S.B. 316. Here’s our testimony.
“Importantly, it would subject more frogs to a painful and slow death.”
Michigan Senate Natural Resources Committee hearing
May 17 2017;
Michigan House Natural Resources Committee hearing
October 11, 2017
S.B. 416 (“Giving Fighting Animals a Fighting Chance”)
Summary of Bill:
Our first video highlights this timely bill. Michigan’s existing law essentially requires animals who have been trained or used for fighting, and their first- and second- generation progeny be euthanized, because of the law’s broad prohibition agains “breeding, buying, selling, exchanging, importing, or exporting” such animals.
This is over-broad and currently prevents adoption of animals. The bill would allow for animal control and shelter agencies to individually assess these animals and potentially adopt them. It also steamlines the process of forfeiting the animals, thereby shortening the time these animals spend in the shelter awaiting disposition of the criminal case.
This bill has taken on a new urgency since its introduction in May. Over the summer, authorities busted a large-scale dog fighting operation in Ingham County, and confiscated 53 dogs. Several have been deemed adoptable. But authorities say their hands are tied under the existing law. A grass-roots effort, “Save the Lansing Pit Bulls” is advocating to save these animals. The Ingham County Animal Control is attempting to save those dogs who do not fit within the strict definition of the existing law.
Bill Status (as of date of video):
S.B. 416 was introduced in late May 2017. It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which had a hearing in early June. The Committee approved the bill and referrred it to the full Senate for a vote.
What you can do:
Contact your Michigan state senator to urge s/he support the bill and urge its immediate consideration by the full Senate. Find your senator here.
These Senators sponsored the bill; if your senator is one of them, be sure to add a “thank you” when you call: Tory Rocca (primary); Rick Jones, Ian Conyers, Steven Bieda, Curtis Hertel, Margaret O’Brien, Marty Knollenberg
Contact the Senate Majority Leader, Arlan Meekof (Ottawa County) to urge him to move this bill. Talking points include:
- the 53 Lansing dogs currently in limbo calls out for legislative action
- local officials are working to save adoptable dogs, despite the current law, and the head of Ingham County Animal Control has urged passage of S.B. 416
- the Ingham Ingham County Law and Courts Committee has passed a resolution urging the Legislature to pass S.B. 416
- ask that the bill be amended to make it retroactive so it covers the Lansing Pit Bulls
Attorneys for Animals voted to support the bill and testified at the Committee hearing in June which considered S.B. 416 and 2 other bills to strengthen laws against animal fighting.
“these bills strengthen the provisions against animal fighting,
clarify the disposition of animals seized in the prosecution of these cases, and ultimately
provide a more humane procedure for dealing with
the animals who are truly the victims of these crimes.
The provisions of S.B. 416 appropriately balance concerns of humane treatment of animals and
proper direction to animal control facilities, with due process requirements for owners of
animals confiscated in prosecutions under MCL 750.49.”
Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee hearing
June 6, 2017
We’ve started a new project to make it easy for you to follow new legislation that affects animals, and — most importantly — to take action by contacting your legislator.
Everyone likes videos about animals. We’re rolling out an occasional series using this format to provide a quick tutorial about bills pending in the Michigan Legislature, and a link back to this page with additional information, making it easy for you to get involved and take action.
We’d like to thank our board member Molly Tamulevich for creating these videos.
A special thank you to Ann Arbor musician David Tamulevich for the music that accompanies them:
Dragonfly, Mustard’s Retreat
Grass Lake, David Tamulevich