New Legislation Would Require Background Checks in Animal Adoptions

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

Several times a year, dogs like this pitbull are taken out of abusive homes and brought to Ingham County Animal Control. When they're adopted out, it's hard to know who, exactly the animals are going to.

"We can check out through our own system here, but many of these people come from all over," said Jamie McAloon Lampman, Director of Ingham Co. Animal Control.

It's a problem faced by shelters everywhere. How do you know you're not adopting animals out to an abuser?
Senator Rick Jones is looking to fix that problem with a new package of bills.

"What we're going to do with our legislation is allow any non-profit shelter to get into ICHAT," said Sen. Jones (R-Grand Ledge).

The legislation, discussed in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tuesday, would require any non-profit shelters to do background checks on those looking to adopt. The checks would be through the Michigan State Police online criminal history database, known as ICHAT, and would look for any history of convicted animal abuse.

Several people, including McAloon Lampman, spoke in favor of the legislation.

"It's just a tool and a method in which we can screen out any potential dangerous people," she said.

Currently, ICHAT requires a $10 user fee, but Jones says, the legislation is still being tweaked and will waive that fee for shelters and non-profits.

However, not everyone is in favor. Anne Hier with the Michigan Association of Pure Bred Dogs spoke out against the bills, Tuesday. She's worried the cost of thousands of background checks could be placed on the taxpayers.

"It is unfair economically to the citizens of the state who do not own pets to basically pay for this because somebody's got to pay for it," she said.

Jones is hoping to have the final legislation introduced in September.

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