Tips For Fun, Safe Summer Travel With Your Dog

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By Kaitlyn Manktelow @Kurgo, the dog travel experts

With the beautiful weather outside, it seems almost a crime for you and your favorite canine to stay inside, instead of enjoying the sunshine together. While it seems pretty easy to just pack up and hit the road with your furry friend, there are some hidden dangers to traveling with a dog that you may not be aware of. Here are some safety tips to ensure both parties have a safe and fun time!

Keep Arms & Legs & Paws Inside at All Times

We know your dog loves to stick his head out the window. While it may seem like an innocent and ‘cute’ thing to allow your pooch to do, it is actually incredibly unsafe.

As human beings, we have a windshield to protect our eyes from different traveling dangers. Hanging with their heads out the window, leaves our four-legged friend’s eyes vulnerable to being hit by foreign objects like rocks, twigs and other forms of debris. The cornea of a dog’s eye is very sensitive and hard to repair if damaged. It also exposes their lungs to breathing in toxic fumes which can cause pneumonia.

Even worse, an unrestrained dog with its head out the window can jump out of a moving car. If a car swerves or is involved with a collision, your pup can be thrown out the window. The severity of these injuries can be anywhere from road rash, to broken bones to even fatal injuries.

Everyone Two-legged and Four, Should Be Buckled Up

Most of us put on a seatbelt in the car without giving it a second thought. We make sure that all human passengers are strapped in, but what about our animal family members?

In addition to being injured in a crash, a loose pet can also be a possible hazard for human passengers in an accident. An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of force on anything it hits, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert about 2400 pounds of force.

A loose dog can also limit a driver’s ability to steer, use the gas and brakes as well as create blind spots.

One car safety solution is to use a dog seat belt with a crash-tested dog car harness. Now your dog is safely buckled up just like you.

Click it or ticket – did you know there are laws being put into place in the United States and across the globe making it illegal to drive with a loose pet?

Bring A ‘Pet-Friendly’ Travel Kit

When humans travel, we have our go-to items like a water bottle, favorite snack or comfy sweatpants. Make your pet more comfortable on the trip by bringing them creature comforts too. Hydration is important in the summer, so be sure to throw in water for your dog and a portable dog travel bowl. Some dogs have anxiety so giving them something that smells like home such as a favorite toy or blanket can ease their fears. And of course snacks. Treats can be an easy way to coax a reluctant dog back in the car after a rest stop break.

Never, Ever Leave Your Pup Alone in the Car

A dog should never be left in an unattended car, no matter the season. However, in summer heat, it is even more important considering that on an 85 degree day, car temperatures can reach up to 120 degrees within 10 minutes even with the windows open!

For more tips, check out this Pet Travel Safety Tips Video.

About Kaitlyn Manktelow – Kaitlyn is a writer and videographer for Kurgo, a dog travel and outdoor products company. She enjoys filming, traveling, and singing way too loud with her rescue dog Samuel Jackson.

Dog license renewals due March 1!

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In Michigan, all dogs 4 months of age and older are required to be licensed in the county you reside.  If you have just acquired your dog, you have 30 days to license it.  If your puppy is less than 4 months old, you have until it is 4 months old to license it.

College Students with Dogs

Did you bring your dog with you to school?  You too, must also license your dog.  You may choose to license your dog in the county you’re living in now, or you can license it in the county you came from if your permanent address is in Michigan as well, but in either case, the tag must be on your dog at all times.

Some other states do not require a license, and only require a Rabies tag.  In Michigan, even dogs with a Rabies tag must have a separate license tag issued by the county you’re currently living in.

Proof of Rabies is Required

Anyone applying for a dog license must provide proof of Rabies signed by a licensed veterinarian.  Every time you Rabies vaccinate your dog, the vet clinic will give you a rabies certificate or other proof of the vaccine.  Save this paper and bring it with you to Animal Services, the Treasurer, or your licensing agency.  At this time of year, those selling licenses are extremely busy and likely won’t be able to call your vet for you to get your proof of Rabies.  It’s part of your pet-parent responsibilities to have this documentation with you, so make sure you have it, or call your vet in advance and get a duplicate copy if you’ve lost yours.

Some counties do things differently!

Michigan requires it, but they’ve left it up to each county to figure out how to manage it.  Make sure you know the requirements in the county you reside in, because if you’ve recently moved from one county to another, things could be a little different than you’re used to.

Service Dogs must be licensed, too!

Your service dog is entitled to a license at no charge, but you must still apply for it on time.  Service dogs are different from emotional support dogs and therapy dogs.  For questions about service dog licensing requirements, contact your local dog licensing agency.

Where to get your License in Kalamazoo County

kcase-logoIn Kalamazoo County, licenses are issued for 1 year at a time.  All renewals are due March 1 and can be purchased at Kalamazoo County Animal Services or the county Treasurer.  Many veterinarians are also selling them, so if you’re upping your Rabies vaccine this week, don’t forget to ask your get to sell you a license too!

Kalamazoo County Residents can visit or mail your license information to:
Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement
2500 Lake St
Kalamazoo, MI  49048

KCASE also has a convenient drop box in their lobby, so you can put your renewal, proof of rabies and payment in an envelope and drop it off in the box without having to wait in line during regular business hours!

Their website is also a wealth of information:  KCASE Licensing Page
Printable Kalamazoo County Dog License Application:  Click Here for PDF

Residents outside of Kalamazoo County

Check with your own licensing agent to find out more about fees and due dates.  Here’s a quick list of whom to contact:

Southwest Michigan Area dog licensing agencies can be reached at the following numbers:

• Allegan County residents call the Allegan County Treasurer’s Office at 269-673-0260
• Barry County residents call the Barry County Animal Control at 269-948-4885
• Berrien County residents call the Berrien County Animal Control at 269-471-7531
• Branch County residents call the Branch County Animal Control at 517-639-3210
• Calhoun County residents call the Calhoun County Treasurer’s Office at 269-781-0807
(Residents in the Battle Creek City Limits must purchase from the Battle Creek City Offices)
• Cass County residents call the Cass County Treasurer’s Office at 269-445-4468
• Kalamazoo County residents call Kalamazoo County Animal Services at 269-383-8775
• Kent County residents call the Kent County Animal Control at 616-632-7100
• St. Joe County residents call the St. Joe County Animal Control at 269-467-6475
• Van Buren County residents call the Van Buren County Treasurer’s Office at 269-657-8228

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Be a courteous dog walker

The ground hasn’t had snow on it in days and the weather is going to be B-E-A-Utiful for at least the next few days!  People and pets will be hitting popular walking trails like the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, Celery Flats, Kleinstuck Preserve and Asylum Lake.  This is a great time of year to stretch your legs (and your dog’s legs too!) after being cooped up all winter.  It’s also the perfect time to freshen up our “Trail Etiquette” and remember how to be a courteous dog walker.

If you liked it then you shoulda put a leash on it

For so many reasons, leashing your dog is the safest, most courteous thing you can do. Years ago at Asylum Lake I was walking my two large dogs (one Rottweiler and one Lab; both friendly) on leashes.  Lots of fields and forest, and very quiet and peaceful.  Out of nowhere, two large Golden Retrievers came running up the path heading right for me.  I stopped, and I attempted to control both of my dogs who were yanking my arms out of socket to “go play”.  The Retrievers bounded over to my dogs and chaos ensued with leashes and legs being tangled, barking, sniffing, and lots of jumping up and down.  I was drowning in a combined 400+ lbs of fur and so very thankful that my dogs and these stray dogs were getting along.

By the time the owner of the Retrievers came into sight, I was dirty, scraped up, sore, and my dogs were acting like sugar-buzzed youths at a Chuck E Cheese.  It was not a good situation.  I could feel my relief as the offending dog owner ran over to me with her leashes in her hand.  I was prepared for an apology and a story about how her dogs got away from her, and I was equally prepared to get on with my day after that.  She grabbed her dogs by the collars and when she opened her mouth to speak she said “Did your Rottweiler bite my dogs?”  WHAT?  She then continues… “Are your dogs friendly?  You really shouldn’t bring dogs here that aren’t friendly.”  That was my breaking point.

The moral of the story:  LEASH YOUR DOGS!  I love animals, I love dogs, but for the sake of everyone involved please just leash your dogs.

Drop it like it’s hot, but then pick it up and throw it away, k?

Dog poop is gross.  No one likes dog poop, not even if it belongs to their own dog.  If you’re taking your dog for a walk it’s safe to assume there will be at least one stop-and-squat along the way, so bring a bag and a few extras, and be prepared to clean up after your pet.  Poop is not fun to step in, it spreads disease and worms and all other kinds of nasty stuff, and it doesn’t belong in the middle of public trail (or sidewalk, road, path, route, etc…).

Can you say “Misdemeanor”?

Believe it or not, walking with your dog off leash is a misdemeanor offense that will be added to your criminal history.  Law Enforcement and Animal Services Officers can and do issue citations on a regular basis for “Dog At Large” which basically means “Your dog was running loose and you got busted!” It doesn’t matter if your dog has been trained to respond to hand signals, a clicker, or a special language that only you and your dog know.  No matter how well behaved you believe your dog is, a leash is required.

This is a state-wide law in Michigan, so no matter where you go in the Great Lake State, make sure to use your leash if you’re bringing your dog along for the ride.

Here’s a a hilarious video from The Trail Foundation in Austin, TX highlights how irresponsible dog walkers can ruin a great day on the trail for everyone!

Enjoy this amazing weather!

Dog License 101: What every dog owner needs to know

You have a dog.

You remembered to buy a leash and collar, dog food and treats, toys, cute little booties and jackets for walks in the rain and snow, a snuggly blankie and dog bed, flea prevention, 15 different sized and textured balls, a car seat if it’s a little fella’ and all of its shots are up to date.  What could possibly be missing?  The Dog License!  Which, ironically, is one of the cheapest things you need to purchase for your dog.

A dog license, much like a car registration or fishing license, is one of those things that the State of Michigan requires by law.  It isn’t optional, and the penalties can get pretty expensive if you are caught without it.

The State of Michigan wrote into law that each county is responsible for selling and maintaining record of every dog license.  These licenses are to be purchased for each dog aged 4 months or older.  While there is some variance from one county to another as to how licenses are sold, some things are the same everywhere in Michigan.

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The Purpose

Dog licenses started as a way for the state to keep better records of Rabies vaccinations at a time when Rabies was not as uncommon as it is today.  While Rabies still has no cure, thanks to preventative laws that require Rabies vaccines and dog licenses, it is extremely uncommon for domestic cats and dogs in Michigan to test positive.  There is a much higher occurrence of Rabies in bats and wildlife which can potentially be spread to domestic animals that come into direct contact.

Since this law was first passed in 1919, dog licenses are also recognized as the most basic form of ID you can put on your dog.  When dogs are found wearing a dog license, they are more likely to be returned to the owner before having to visit the stray animal shelter first.

Rabies Vaccines are Required

In order to get a dog license, your dog must currently Rabies vaccinated with at least 30 days left before that vaccine expires.  This means that if you try to buy a license today and your Rabies vaccine expires in 2 weeks, you will be denied until your dog is re-vaccinated.

If your pet cannot be vaccinated for any  medical reason, a veterinarian can give you a signed waiver on veterinary letterhead describing the reason for the inability to vaccinate, and the duration of this status (temporary issue or a lifetime condition).

Dogs that cannot be Rabies vaccinated must still be licensed.

Service Dogs Must Be Licensed

Service dogs are not exempt from licensing but may qualify for a free license.  Service dog owners are still required to Rabies vaccinate their dog and adhere to the licensing schedule just like any other dog owner.  Mental health and therapy dogs are not service dogs, with the exception of dogs prescribed for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

For more information on service animals, please get the ADA Requirements at the ADA website:  http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

To find out how to get a license for your service dog, contact your local Animal Control or Treasurer (whoever sells the licenses in your county) and ask what requirements you must meet to get a free service dog license.

Failure to Rabies Vaccinate and Failure to Buy Dog License

It is a misdemeanor offense if you are caught without a Rabies vaccine or dog license.

It’s possible to be written a citation and have to appear in court.  There could also be late fees and court fines associated with failing to comply with the law.

While many in Kalamazoo County are used to waiting for a “fix-it ticket” to comply, in 2015 Kalamazoo County Courts determined that Animal Services & Enforcement could no longer issue the fix-it tickets, and dog owners in violation should be issued a citation to appear in court immediately.

The Cost

Dog licenses in Kalamazoo County are $10 for an altered dog or puppy under 1 year old, or $40 for a dog that is at least 1 year old and unaltered.  Fees vary from county to county, so please find out from your local authorities what your cost will be.

Where To Get A Dog License

For Kalamazoo County Residents:

Mail in your proof of Rabies and application or renewal notice to:
Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement
2500 Lake Street, Kalamazoo MI  49048

Licenses can be purchased at the following offices:

  • Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement
  • Kalamazoo County Treasurer Office
  • All township/village/city halls in Kalamazoo County
  • The following vet clinics:2015-12-30 12.47.44
    • Animal Clinic
    • Creature Comfort
    • Crestview
    • Denney
    • East Main
    • Family Pet Health
    • Friendship Animal
    • Gull Lake Animal
    • Kalamazoo Animal
    • Lakeview Animal
    • Mattawan Animal
    • Milwood Animal
    • Oakwood Animal
    • Oshtemo Vet
    • Paw Paw Vet
    • Pet Vet
    • Portage Animal
    • Red Arrow
    • Richland
    • Schoolcraft Vet
    • Shaver Road
    • Sprinkle Road
    • Texas Corners
    • Visiting Vet
    • West Main
    • Woodland

Residents outside of Kalamazoo County should check with your own licensing agent to find out more about fees and due dates.  Here’s a quick list of who to contact:

Southwest Michigan Area dog licensing agencies can be reached at the following numbers:

• Allegan County residents call the Allegan County Treasurer’s Office at 269-673-0260
• Barry County residents call the Barry County Animal Control at 269-948-4885
• Berrien County residents call the Berrien County Animal Control at 269-471-7531
• Branch County residents call the Branch County Animal Control at 517-639-3210
• Calhoun County residents call the Calhoun County Treasurer’s Office at 269-781-0807
(Residents in the Battle Creek City Limits must purchase from the Battle Creek City Offices)
• Cass County residents call the Cass County Treasurer’s Office at 269-445-4468
• Kalamazoo County residents call Kalamazoo County Animal Services at 269-383-8775
• Kent County residents call the Kent County Animal Control at 616-632-7100
• St. Joe County residents call the St. Joe County Animal Control at 269-467-6475
• Van Buren County residents call the Van Buren County Treasurer’s Office at 269-657-8228

 

Know The Law: Dogs on Chains & Tethering

As long as dogs continue to have legs and free will, dog owners will need to find ways to keep dogs at home.  The most accessible and inexpensive method is tethering; the practice of securing a dog to a location with a rope or chain to prevent it from running loose.  Sounds simple enough, but there are legal requirements that must be met or this seemingly simple practice can get owners into a lot of trouble.  From collars to tether lengths to potential hazards, we’re breaking it down for you to keep you on the right side of the law.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhy are dogs tethered?

Dog at Large is a fancy way to say “Dog Running Loose”, which is bad and can be expensive if Poochie is pickup up and turned over the local animal shelter.  It can also result in fines, and the owner is held responsible for anything Poochie did while have a good time in the  neighborhood.  If Poochie isn’t the nicest dog on the block, that can cause even further issues if he bites or injures another animal or person.  The bottom line:  Poochie must stay at home! Tethering is affordable and quick.  Tethering doesn’t work for every dog, especially dogs that have a knack for escaping, but in many cases it does the trick and eliminates the need for the owner to have to remain outside with Poochie when he’s out getting his fresh air for the day.

How long can a dog be tied out for?

In relation to Michigan State Law, it doesn’t matter if a dog is tied out for 15 minutes or 24 hours a day.  As long as the legal requirements are being met, there is no legal reason why a dog cannot be tied outside.  Some local jurisdictions may have more restrictions, such as time limits.  The City of Battle Creek is one example of a city that has time restrictions for tethering a dog stating:

City of Battle Creek Ordinance 608.09 Cruelty to Animals:

7.  Confine an animal on a tether unless the tether allows the animal access to suitable shelter and:
         A.   For dogs, the tether is at least ten feet in length; the tether and collar, harness or other type of collaring device when taken together weighs not more than one-eighth of the dog’s body weight and does not, due to weight, inhibit the free movement of the dog; the manner of tethering prevents injury, strangulation, or entanglement on fences, trees or other man-made or natural obstacles or objects; the collar, harness or any other type of collaring device being used is designed for that purpose and made from material that prevents injury to the dog; the period of tethering does not exceed one continuous hour, except that tethering of the same dog may resume after an hiatus of three continuous hours; and the dog is tethered no more than a total of three hours per day.
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It is the legal responsibility of every dog owner to know the laws that exist in your communities.  Some mobile home communities, apartments, sub divisions or other neighborhoods and developments may have rules about tethering, however Animal Control departments cannot enforce private rules; only laws and ordinances.  Your management company can enforce rules, and any consequence for violating those would be determined by your landlord-tenant agreements.

What kind of collar can be used?

By Michigan State Law, only a harness or nonchoke collar designed for tethering can be used.  Pinch/Prong collars, choke chains, and various other training type collars cannot be used.  Martingale collars are permitted as they do not fully constrict and are a good solution for many dogs that know how to back out of a collar.

What kind of tether can be used?

The State of Michigan doesn’t give any specific material that can or cannot be used other than to define tethering as the restraint and confinement of a dog by use of a chain, rope, or similar device.  There are length requirements however, which state the tether must be at least 3 times the length of the dog as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail.  A tether that is too short could be considered Failure to Provide Adequate Care or Neglect/Cruelty depending on the circumstances the dog was found in.  Furthermore, putting a 34 lb. chain on a 38lb. dog (this actually happened…) could be considered cruelty if the Officer or a Veterinarian would be able to prove the dog suffered as a result of the weight of the chain.  While the law doesn’t specify the material or weight of the tether, dog owners need to make sure they aren’t violating any other animal protection laws including those that determine adequate care. Like any other State Law, local jurisdictions may have stricter ordinances in place, so be sure to know what they are, if any, in your area.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpecial Considerations:

  • Don’t tether a dog within reach of a fence line or other barrier.  Every year Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement responds to reports of dogs hanging over fences or porch/deck railings.  Owners can be charged with animal cruelty for allowing this to happen to a dog, whether they knew it was happening or not.
  • Dogs will often wrap themselves around a tree, dog house or debris and become immobilized when they can’t untangle themselves.  Please check on your dog periodically and untangle the tether before it becomes a problem.
  • Coated wire cables will become brittle in extreme weather, and when water gets trapped on the inside of the protective coating, it can rust and weaken the cable.  This can result in dogs breaking free.  Check your cable frequently and always use the appropriate weight as recommended on the package for the size of your dog.
  • Thin wire or ropes can get wrapped around the limbs of your dog and cause rope burns or other injuries.  Avoid materials that are abrasive, sharp or too thin.
  • Remove any debris, stumps or other potential hazards away from the area your pet is going to be tethered in.
  • Never tether two dogs within reach of each other, even if they normally get along.
  • A tethered dog must have access to shelter – If you plan to leave your dog unattended for any length of time or overnight, get a dog house.
  • Screw-in stakes and other shallow anchors do not work for strong or large dogs.  If you need to tie out a dog that is strong, or pulls, consider anchoring the tether to a permanent or firmly fixed object like a deep post or a tree.
  • Never leave an aggressive dog unattended on a tether.

Concerns about Tethering:

There are many thoughts on tethering dogs, especially “outdoor dogs” that spend most if not all of the time outside on a tether.  This article is not intended to judge or choose a side, but rather to educate all dog owners about the specific legal requirements concerning tethering.  This is not an article about the keeping of outdoor dogs.  If you plan to tether your dog, take the time to consider all available containment options, and make choices based on the well-being and health of your pet. Any dog owner in the possession of a dog kept outside because the dog is no longer wanted is strongly encouraged to try to find placement for the dog before making it live outside 24/7.  Not all outdoor dogs are neglected, but it is important for all dog owners to understand the social and emotional needs of animals even if those needs are not clearly defined or addressed in the law.

Related Resources:

Know the Law: Adequate Care

“Adequate care” is a term used to describe the legal minimum provisions an animal must have provided to them by their owner/caretaker.  These minimums are definable requirements, and Animal Enforcement Officers heavily refer to Adequate Care standards to determine if an owner is, or is not, being negligent.  The definition of adequate care is specific and clearly outlines an animal’s needs, however it’s also loose enough to fit every type of animal in every type of lifestyle.  The law is written so that the same law that would apply to an indoor cat in a downtown high-rise would also protect herds of cattle in the “country”.

Kalamazoo County is a mixture of busy city and slow, quiet country.  From the Kalamazoo Mall downtown, to the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it towns like Fulton, animals can be found in every corner.  How is it possible that one law could suit the needs of such a variety of animals?  Let’s break it down piece by piece to see how this law is applied in varied situations.

“Adequate care” means the provision of sufficient food, water, shelter, sanitary conditions, exercise, and veterinary medical attention in order to maintain an animal in a state of good health.

Empty food bowl in debris near dog houseFood:  There is no specific type of food that must be fed, although veterinarians and  pet experts will tell you its important to feed food of good nutritional content that was specifically meant for the type of animal you’re feeding.  If you have a cat, buy cat food; if you have a dog, buy dog food.  Your veterinarian can help you find the right food for your pet if you’re having a hard time choosing, and most local pet store staff can get you started on a food that will meet the needs of your pet.  Some pets can eat the least expensive food with no problems, while other pets may start having hair loss, skin inflammation, ear infections and other signs of food allergies. 

Water:  Hydration is essential.  An animal can survive for days without food before any serious complications occur, but dehydration can become fatal much sooner.  If the owner isn’t giving the dog water in the winter and the dog is eating snow, does that count as sufficient?  It does.  If the animal is maintaining a state of good health and doesn’t appear dehydrated, there is no requirement to force the owner to provide water if the dog is getting adequate water from the elements.  I’m not saying it’s right, but an officer wouldn’t be able to charge the owner with neglect if the animal doesn’t appear to be neglected or isn’t unhealthy as a result of the owners lack of provisions.

Shyla with Dog House, Empty Bowl, Debris and Trash all Over
Shelter: 
Shelter means adequate protection from the elements and weather conditions suitable for the age, species, and physical condition of the animal so as to maintain the animal in a state of good health.  This portion of the law is broken into two parts:  Livestock and Dogs.

Shelter, for livestock, includes structures or natural features such as trees or topography.  This means that horses, cows, and other livestock do not need a barn or lean-to.  If the property has a significant tree line, that will be considered adequate shelter.

Shelter, for a dog, includes 1 or more of the following:
(i) The residence of the dog’s owner or other individual.
(ii) A doghouse that is an enclosed structure with a roof and of appropriate dimensions for the breed and size of the dog. The doghouse shall have dry bedding when the outdoor temperature is or is predicted to drop below freezing.
(iii) A structure, including a garage, barn, or shed, that is sufficiently insulated and ventilated to protect the dog from exposure to extreme temperatures or, if not sufficiently insulated and ventilated, contains a doghouse as provided under subparagraph (ii) that is accessible to the dog.

Sanitary Conditions:  This means space free from health hazards including excessive animal waste, overcrowding of animals, or other conditions that endanger the animal’s health. This definition does not include any condition resulting from a customary and reasonable practice pursuant to farming or animal husbandry.  Basically, keep it clean and free of debris.  If a dog has been outside all summer long chained near its dog house, it’s reasonable to expect the owner to clean that area up.  If the owner fails to clean up at least several times a week, the area will quickly fill with feces, forcing the dog to eat and sleep in close proximity to its own feces.  Livestock standards are different, however and Officer can still determine if a situation is acceptable or not.  Barns and other areas that hold livestock may have more “muck” inside, especially nearing the end of winter and into spring, however these areas do still need to be maintained properly.

Exercise:  So many times I hear people describe the neglect of the neighbors dog, stating it’s let outside an no one ever takes it for a walk or plays with it.  It may not be how you would treat your pet, but if the animal looks healthy, there isn’t any legal neglect happening.  Some animals like horses MUST be exercised, but the physical needs of animals do vary quite a bit from one species and breed to another.  Every owner needs to be fully aware of the physical demands of a pet or animal before getting one.  Dogs that don’t get enough exercise can become destructive or show more aggressive behaviors.  Horses that aren’t exercised properly can become harder to control or depressed, and even have digestive or circulation problems as a result.

Veterinary Medical Attention:  Humans need doctors; animals need vets.  If your pet is sick or isn’t acting right, it’s important to have a veterinarian take a look to diagnose the problem.  Your animal can’t tell you what the problem is, but your vet is trained to get to the bottom of whatever is causing your pet to act abnormally.

The kicker here is the very last part of the adequate care statement:  “…to maintain a state of good health.”  This means that whatever an owner has provided for food, water, sanitary conditions, exercise and veterinary medical attention, the animal must be in a state of good health.  If the animal is sickly, underweight, losing its hair, or otherwise showing signs of poor health, there is an assumption that one or more of the legal provisions is lacking and something needs to be adjusted.

If an owner has two dogs but one dog is showing signs of allergies to the food the dogs are eating, even though he is meeting the food provision of the law he is not maintaining a state of good health.  Even though the owner is providing food, it isn’t considered “adequate care” if he fails to provide the dog with allergies a different food and veterinary medical attention if needed.

Whenever you have a question about the health or safety of an animal, you should certainly contact your local Animal Services department.  Having an expert out to see the conditions of the animal can help determine if adequate care is being provided.  If any problems are apparent, the Officer has the authority to mandate improvements or take further action.

The most important thing to take away from the Adequate Care law is that it allows for large variances in how people take care of their pets and animals, but in the end, the animal must be in a state of good health.  If the owner isn’t adjusting his/her care of the pet to fit the needs of the animal, the animal is not being provided adequate care.

To view the complete law, visit the Michigan Legislature website and read MCL 750.50.

KHS Blog Authors

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