REGULATE WOLF HYBRIDS
Senate Bill 705 (Substitute
Addendum to SFA analysis (4-12-00)
Sponsor: Sen. Leon
Senate Committee: Farming,
Agribusiness and Food Systems
House Committee: Health
ADDENDUM TO SENATE FISCAL AGENCY
ANALYSIS OF SB 705 DATED 12-17-99:
The Committee on Health Policy adopted a substitute bill which,
among other things, would use
the term "wolf hybrid" instead of "wolf-dog cross", and most provisions would also apply to a
person who was temporarily in possession of a wolf hybrid (e.g., someone providing dog sitting
services). Specifically, the committee substitute differs from the Senate-passed bill in the
- A person could not sell, offer for sale, or advertise a dog for sale
by falsely representing the
dog to be a wolf hybrid. Further, it would be a rebuttable presumption that a dog was a wolf
hybrid if the current or previous owner represented it to be one. A representation could be by
advertisement, registration paper, or any other method.
- The owner of a wolf hybrid would have to apply for a
permit within four months of the bill's
- An owner or person temporarily in possession of a wolf
hybrid would be liable for damages if
the animal bit an individual without provocation. Further, the bill would specify that it would
limit the common law liability of an owner or person in possession of a wolf hybrid for any
death or injury of a human or property damage caused by the animal.
- A wolf hybrid subject to forfeiture due to violations of the
bill's requirements by the owner could
not be seized without due process.
- The Senate-passed version contained a list of morphological traits
to be used in identifying a
wolf hybrid. The House substitute removed this provision.
- If a law enforcement officer believed that an animal were a
wolf hybrid, but the owner was
unable or unwilling to verify that the animal was a wolf hybrid, the officer would have to consult
with an expert on wolf hybrid identification before enforcing the bill. An "expert on wolf hybrid
identification" would be defined as an individual with a combination of at least ten years of
training and field experience in wolf and wolf hybrid behavioral and morphological
characteristics, and who
was recognized as an expert at the state and national levels by
others in the same field. In
making an identification, an expert would have to consider all relevant aspects of identification
(such as behavioral characteristics), morphological traits ( including gait), and any necropsy
(animal autopsy) results.
- In the case of a possible rabies exposure involving a human,
livestock, or a person's pet, a
wolf hybrid could be quarantined for ten days from the date of the exposure if the
provided a valid rabies vaccination certificate from a veterinarian that showed that the animal
had been vaccinated at least 30 days before the exposure. If the wolf hybrid died or exhibited
any symptoms of rabies during the quarantine period, the animal would have to be euthanized
and examined for rabies according to provisions in the Public Health Code. (Note:
there is no USDA approved rabies vaccine for use in wolf hybrids.)
- The bill requires a local unit of government to verify certain
information before issuing a permit
to own a wolf hybrid. The House substitute would add that an applicant for a wolf hybrid
permit would have to be knowledgeable about a wolf hybrid's disposition and care
requirements. The owner of a wolf hybrid would have to maintain copies of the animal's
veterinary records and present the records upon request of a law enforcement
- The Senate-passed version allows a law enforcement officer
or other person to kill a wolf
hybrid if the animal were attacking or chasing a person or livestock, poultry, or a mammalian
pet. The House substitute instead would allow the wolf hybrid to be killed if it were attacking,
injuring, or killing a human, livestock, or poultry. In addition, the bill would specify that a law
enforcement officer could kill a wolf hybrid if the animal were attacking, injuring, or killing
wildlife. Further, a person with a permit to own a wolf hybrid could recover the value of the
animal if another person or a law enforcement officer illegally killed the animal.
- Certain provisions of the bill would not pertain to a
nonresident who was transporting his or her
wolf hybrid through the state en route to a location outside of the state.
- If a wolf hybrid were leashed while exercising, the leash
length could not exceed six feet. A
wolf hybrid could be exercised outdoors in a fenced area with permission of the property owner
if the owner or a person who was temporarily caring for the animal were present.
- The House substitute rewrites certain provisions pertaining
to the care and feeding of wolf
hybrids to provide clarity and to be less burdensome. When an animal died, only the death,
and not the "cause of death", would have to be certified in writing.
- The Senate-passed bill requires wolf hybrids to be kept in a
facility with a floor space of at
least 900 square feet, plus an additional 450 square feet for each additional animal. The
House substitute would allow a permitting agency to grant a variance if the requirement would
impose a practical difficulty for the owner and the reduced floor area was sufficient to maintain
the animal in good health.
- The owner of a wolf hybrid would have to ensure that it received
an annual checkup, including
any vaccinations, and other necessary medical care.
The Michigan Veterinary Medical Association supports the bill.
The Humane Society of the United States supports the bill.
The Michigan Humane Society supports the bill.
The Michigan Association of Animal Control Officers supports the
The Department of Agriculture supports the concept of the bill.
The Michigan Hunting Dog Federation opposes the bill.
The Michigan Association of Pure Bred Dogs opposes the bill.
The Professional Kennel Club, Inc. opposes the bill.
The American Kennel Club opposes the bill.
Analyst: S. Stutzky
This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan House
staff for use by House members in their deliberations, and does not constitute an official
statement of legislative intent.