LANSING — State Rep. Tim Sneller, D-Burton, has owned dogs all his life, including his current rescue pet Oscar, a miniature Dachsund whose woof is always welcome.
He wants to make sure that other pet owners appreciate that a dog’s bark is an essential multi-purpose signal —that they need to go out, eat or provide a warning of impending danger — and prohibit veterinarians from performing debarking procedures.
He’s introduced a bill that bans the procedure of removing tissue from a pet’s vocal cords in order to reduce or soften a dog’s bark.
“That’s the way the dog communicates with us,” he said. “To have this done just because you don’t want to hear a dog bark is cruel and unusual punishment.”
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, four states have laws in place that prohibit devocalization of dogs in most circumstances: Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. And California and Rhode Island have laws that prohibit landlords from requiring devocalization or declawing of pets as a condition for renters.
Sneller doesn’t have high expectations that his bill will get much traction in the state Capitol.
“I don’t see it going anywhere, but it was really a point to bring the issue up and urge dog owners to think about it before you do it,” he said. "Before you rip out their vocal cords, take your dog to training.”
He also suggested that, while not ideal and not an option that he would ever choose, that a shock collar or electric fence could be another, less permanent choice for pet owners.
The veterinary association's official stance on debarking dogs is that it should only be done as a final alternative to euthanizing a dog after other behavior modification techniques have failed.
Other bills introduced this week
HB 6008: Apply the federal standard to state prevailing wage requirements for construction projects. Sponsor: Rep. Martin Howrylak, R-Troy.
HB 6009: Require health insurance coverage for prosthetic devices. Sponsor: Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township.
HB 6010: Create a bill of rights to ensure that schools don't identify or stigmatize students who can't afford to buy their lunches. Sponsor: Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland.
HB 6011: Enter into the national driver license compact to share information about driving records with other states. Sponsor: Rep. Jeffrey Noble, R-Plymouth.
HB 6012: Modify procedure when a nonresident motorist does not comply with a traffic citation given in Michigan. Sponsor: Rep. Steven Johnson, R-Wayland Township.
HB 6013-6015: Create and provide funding for the Michigan innovative transportation board. Sponsor: Rep. Shane Hernandez, R-Port Huron, Jeffrey Noble, R-Plymouth, Jason Sheppard, R-Temperance.
HB 6015-6021 and 6023: Modify the definition of HIV; update partner reporting, testing procedures and disclosures for HIV; reduce penalties for crime of sexual penetration while HIV infected; eliminate requirement that health departments maintain case files for HIV test subjects. Sponsors: Reps. Edward Canfield, R-Sebawaing, Hank Vaupel, R-Fowlerville, Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn, Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, Kevin Hertel, D-St. Clair Shores.
HB 6022: Modify the infections for which testing is required for pregnant women and require additional HIV testing during third trimester. Sponsor: Rep. John Bizon, R-Battle Creek.
HB 6024: Modify property tax exemptions for disabled veterans. Sponsor: Rep. Holly Hughes, R-White River Township.
HB 6025: Designate a portion of US-131 as the PFC Nicholas H. Blodgett, CPL Ross A. Smith and SPC Eric T. Burri Memorial Highway. The three were killed while serving in Iraq. Sponsor: Rep. Tommy Brann, R-Wyoming.
HB 6026: Create the state forensic science commission. Sponsor: Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Charlotte.
HB 6027: Expand the permissible use of school sinking funds to include school security improvements. Sponsor: Rep. Gary Howell, R-North Branch.
HB 6028: Make general revisions in the school pupil transportation act. Sponsor: Rep. Gary Howell, R-North Branch.
HB 6029: Allow the appointment of a pro bono lawyer or a law student to act as an animal advocate in animal cruelty cases. Sponsor: Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn.
HB 6030: Require veterinarians to provide information on certain procedures to pet owners. Sponsor: Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor.
HB 6031 and 6034: Prohibit devocalization of an animal if there is no therapeutic reason for the procedure. Sponsors: Reps. Tim Sneller, D-Burton, Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, D-Detroit.
HB 6032: Prohibit the ownership, breeding, sale and importing of nonhuman primates. Sponsor: Rep. Jim Ellison, D-Royal Oak.
HB 6033: Prohibit communities from enacting ordinances that would ban residents from keeping carrier pigeons. Sponsor: Rep. Frank Liberati, D-Allen Park.
HB 6035: Provide an income tax credit for renovations made to a home for a senior citizen or disabled person. Sponsor: Rep. Darrin Camilleri, D-Brownstown Township.
HB 6036: Include health professionals in the definition of people who can be held liable for child abuse. Sponsor: Rep. Holly Hughes, R-White River Township.
HB 6037: Provide for a training and permit program for medication aides at health facilities. Sponsor: Rep. Ben Frederick, R-Owosso.
HB 6038: Prohibit employers from sanctioning home health care workers who possess a self-defense spray device. Sponsor: Rep. Henry Yanez, D-Sterling Heights.
HB 6039-6040: Clarify the type of home health agencies that are required to do criminal background checks on prospective employees. Sponsor: Rep. Henry Yanez, D-Sterling Heights.
HB 6041-6042: Increase penalties for assaults on health care workers. Sponsor: Rep. Henry Yanez, D-Sterling Heights.
HB 6043: Establish a requirement that schools provide information on unprofessional conduct of employees that will be sent to the Michigan Department of Education and made available to prospective employers. Sponsor: Rep. Cara Clemente, D-Lincoln Park.
HB 6044: Modify the licensing requirements for real estate brokers hired to perform property management duties. Sponsor: Rep. Michele Hoitenga, R-Manton.
HB 6045: Provide a waiver of hunting and fishing license fees for military retirees. Sponsor: Rep. Michael McCready, R-Birmingham.
HB 6046: Define and modify the identifications needed to use provisional ballots. Sponsor: Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township.
HB 6047-6048: Provide a waiver of fees in certain circumstances for the search and issuance of birth certificates and state identification cards for use as valid identification for voting purposes. Sponsors: Reps. James Lower, R-Cedar Lake, Jim Lilly, R-Macatawa.
HB 6049 and SB 1025: Provide for a shift of property tax assessment functions to the county equalization department. Sponsors: Rep. James Lower, R-Cedar Lake, Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland.
HB 6050: Allow for breeding of black bears. Sponsor: Rep. Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway.
HB 6051: Limit the amount of health insurance co-pays for primary care physician visits. Sponsor: Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn.
HB 6052: Create the economic development incentive evaluation act. Sponsor: Rep. Thomas Albert, R-Lowell.
HB 6053-6054: Modify the penalties for late filing of essential services assessment fee. Sponsor: Rep. Thomas Albert, R-Lowell.
HB 6055: Designate a portion of M-57 n Genesee County as the Firefighter Mike Wager Memorial Highway. Wager died in 2016 after being involved in a car crash caused by a drunk driver. Sponsor: Pam Faris, D-Clio.
HB 6056: Create a pilot program allowing military medical personnel to practice under the supervision of a licensed doctor. Sponsor: Rep. Diana Farrington, R-Utica.
HB 6057: Prohibit the sale or purchase of dextromethorphan, which is used to treat chronic cough in dogs, by individuals under the age of 18. Sponsor: Rep. Diana Farrington, R-Utica.
HB 6058-6060: Provide for a preliminary determination of eligibility for individuals who apply for a health professional license. Sponsors: Reps. Scott VanSingel, R-Grant, Terry Sabo, D-Muskegon, Jim Lilly, R-Macatawa.
HB 6061-6062: Establish fees and revise the hours of instruction required for getting a barber’s license. Sponsor: Rep. Scott VanSingel, R-Grant.
HB 6063: Prohibit local ordinances on banning signs for veterans or first responders who die in the line of duty. Sponsor: Rep. Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell.
HB 6064: Create a rural development fund in the economic development program of the Michigan Strategic fund. Sponsor: Rep. Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell.
HB 6065: Include embezzlement crimes in the definition of racketeering. Sponsor: Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake.
HB 6066-6067: Allow the possession of self-defense spray or foam or Tasers in schools by teachers or school employees. Sponsor: Rep. Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain.
HB 6068: Require first aid response kits in school buildings. Sponsor: Rep. Jeff Yaroch, R-Richmond.
HB 6069: Expand the prohibition on smoking or using vapor products to include state parks and public playgrounds. Sponsor: Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township.
HB 6070: Allow eviction notices to be executed by a court officer, bailiff or deputy sheriff. Sponsor: Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township.
HB 6071: Require the Michigan State Police to inspect school buildings and identify safety issues. Sponsor: Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland.
HB 6072: Establish breakfast nutrition programs in schools. Sponsor: Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland.
HB 6073: Increase traffic fines for overweight and oversized vehicles. Sponsor: Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland.
HB 6074: Prohibit a public utility from using projected costs in their rates. Sponsor: Rep. John Reilly, R-Oakland Township.
HB 6075: Revise the limitations on individuals serving as medical examiner investigators. Sponsor: Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona.
HB 6076: Include special assessments for state-owned property for the purpose of payments to local governments in lieu of taxes. Sponsor: Rep. Scott VanSingel, R-Grant.
HB 6077: Require school districts to carry free tampons and sanitary napkins in women’s restroms in schools. Sponsor: Rep. Leslie Love, D-Detroit.
HB 6078: Expand the definition of restraint in the mental health code. Sponsor: Rep. Patrick Green, D-Warren.
SB 1022: Modify how candidates who leave office can use their campaign finance fund by only allowing repayment of debts and obligations of the candidate’s committee. Sponsor: Rep. David Robertson, R-Grand Blanc.
SB 1023: Provide for training of car sales employees at auto dealers and repair facilities. Sponsor: Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford.
SB 1024: Require schools to notify students of opportunities for advance placement testing. Sponsor: Sen. David Robertson, R-Grand Blanc.
SB 1026-1027: Provide for sales and use tax exemptions for the purchase of contact lenses. Sponsors: Sens. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township.
SB 1028: Allow confirmation of auto insurance to be through a real-time electronic insurance verification system. Sponsor: Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida.
SB 1029: Regulate insurers of domestic stock when the company divides into two or more companies. Sponsor: Sen. Joe Hune, R-Gregory.
For more information or to track bills, go to www.legislature.mi.gov.
Contact Kathleen Gray: 313-223-4430, email@example.com or on Twitter @michpoligal
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