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Man faces misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty after his dog kills young raccoon that caused some damage to garage | MLive.com

February 9, 2011 2 comments

Man faces misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty after his dog kills young raccoon that caused some damage to garage | MLive.com.

While I disagree with the intentional killing of any animal, it appears as if the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office is setting a confusing precedent by choosing to charge this man with animal cruelty. MCL 750.50b defines an animal as any animal having a vertebrae, other than a human being. Obviously, a racoon is an animal with a vertabrae, however, a mouse is also a vertabrate.

So if we travel back in time, my mom engaged in criminal behavior when she used mouse traps to decrease the mouse population in our old farmhouse and my dad was a misdemeanant when he furthered his crusade against the woodchucks that would destroy our yard. However, was it likely that the Gratiot County Prosecutor would have charged my parents with a crime? No, because no self-respecting prosecutor would have charged my parents with killing a mouse or a woodchuck because these animals are pests and can potentially cause damage.

While this isn’t the type of behavior we want to encourage, is this really criminal behavior? In my opinion, the statute should include a distinction between domesticated and wild animals. If the statute is applied as written, without any distinction between domesticated and wild animals, it leads to absurd results – such as the possible prosecution of my parents in the example above and the Jackson County case.

So why is the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office bothering with this? What are your thoughts on this issue?