Leaving your dog in your car could soon be a felony in Michigan

Dog Behavior: Out of the Car Window
Dog Behavior: Out of the Car Window

Leaving a dog or a cat or any other animal in a car in Michigan could soon qualify as a felony.

Michigan lawmakers are considering joining 16 other states with similar laws by passing legislation that would make it illegal to keep an animal in a car in conditions that might endanger its "health or well-being." Michigan's law, though, would impose among the strictest penalties for endangering an animal's life.

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If an animal dies inside a vehicle, the person who left the dog or cat there could go to jail for up to five years or be fined as much as $5,000, according to MLive.

That's the top-tier punishment. If the animal is injured in the process, that could result in a year of time behind bars, or a $1,000 fine.

Otherwise, first offenders could get a $350 fine or a month and a half in jail. Second-timers could get three months in prison or fined $500.

While many states have similar laws, the vast majority of penalties for leaving an animal in a car are classified as misdemeanors.

The potential $5,000 fine would also be among the highest.

The two complimentary bills were introduced this week into the state senate and they have been sent to the judiciary committee for consideration.