Dogs and cats used in experiments would get a happy new home under Michigan legislation | Michigan News | Detroit

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  • Bryan Mitchell for the Humane Society of the United States
  • The Michigan legislation is named after Teddy, who was rescued from a research lab in 2019 and now lives a happy life with his adoptive family.

Michigan lawmakers are considering legislation that would give hope to dogs and cats that are used in research.

Two bipartisan bills in a state House committee would require that animals used for research be put up for adoption after they outlive their use for research. Under the legislation, animals that are deemed suitable for adoption must be offered to licensed animal shelters once the research is complete.

One of the bills also would require research labs to disclose the number of animals released to shelters and where they were sent.

All too often, advocates say, healthy dogs and cats are euthanized and deprived of a chance to live a happy life with a loving family once the research is over.

“There are hundreds of dogs used in experiments every year. This bill would make sure that those dogs that are adoptable would have a fair chance at being placed in a loving home,” Molly Tamulevich, Michigan state director for the Human Society of the United States, tells Metro Times. “Unfortunately, euthanasia is often their fate.”

Thirteen states already have similar laws.

The legislation in Michigan, called Teddy’s Law, is named after a beagle rescued from a Michigan laboratory in 2019. Teddy and 31 other dogs were released to the Michigan Humane Society following its undercover investigation that found the dogs were being used in a cruel, year-long fungicide test.

Charles River Laboratories released the dogs following public pressure.

Dave Rubello, who adopted Teddy, said the legislation would provide hope to hundreds of other animals forced to live in labs.

“Teddy made our family complete, and without a law like this in place, hundreds of beagles currently tested on in Michigan will never see this opportunity,” Rubello said in a statement. “Teddy was almost euthanized after months of excruciating testing. Because of the Humane Society of the United States, he was able to experience a home, grass under his paws, and fresh air. All dogs in Michigan deserve the same chance.”

One of the bills’ sponsors, Rep. Kevin Hertel, D-St. Clair Shores, said the legislation would save the lives of otherwise healthy animals.

“Passing Teddy’s Law will ensure that cats and dogs in laboratories across the state are spared from needless euthanasia and have the opportunity to find loving homes,” Hertel said.

For the legislation to become law, the committee must vote to advance the bill to the full House. It would then go to the Senate before reaching the governor’s desk.

“We want to get it out of committee, and we want folks in Lansing to know that this is an important issue to many people,” Tamulevich says. “We love animals in Michigan. Whether or not you agree with animal testing, I think we all agree that dogs all deserve a loving family.”

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