Michigan Animal Health Update: Issue 5


Issue 5, January 2016

Shelter Hold Time Policy Changed


On January 19, 2016, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Animal Industry Division officially made a change in policy regarding hold times in Michigan shelters. Hold times are the length of time lost or missing cats and dogs have to be held in the shelter before they can be adopted, transferred to other shelters or euthanized.

Statewide, Public Act 224 of 1969, Use of Dogs and Cats for Research, MCL 287.388, which details specific hold times, has been enforced by AID in Michigan shelters since the laws inception. In 2014, an organization requested clarification of the hold times believing these requirements did not apply to shelters who do not sell animals for research.

As a result, AID initiated a review of the Act, explored the enforcement options allowed by the Act, and determined there is no authority to enforce hold times on shelter dogs or cats not intending to be sold or being sold for research. Consequently, AID will no longer enforce or monitor hold times as defined in the Act unless a shelter is engaged in the sale of dogs or cats for research.

If your practice is directly involved with shelters, AID strongly encourages you to work with them regarding this change and support having procedures in place to facilitate reuniting owners with their pets. If your practice sees clients whose pets are adopted from shelters we want you to be aware of potential ownership concerns.

For a copy of the policy go to: www.michigan.gov/animalshelters. If you have concerns regarding enforcement of hold times feel free to contact your local legislator.

Hot Topic:

Veterinary Feed Directive


The Food and Drug Administration is in the midst of making changes to availability and how antibiotics can be used in livestock. Historically, a majority of feed-grade antibiotics used in or on animal feeds have been available to producers over-the-counter. However, the current expansion is moving all human medically important feed-grade antibiotics to the veterinary feed directive drug process by January 1, 2017. In addition, the FDA has previously allowed antibiotics to have label claims for therapeutic (prevention, control, treatment) reasons, growth promotant and feed efficiency. As a part of judicious use strategy, the FDA has aligned with drug sponsors to voluntarily revise label claims, removing growth promotant and feed efficiency. Since VFD products cannot be used extra-label, the removal of label claims will discontinue their use for non-therapeutic purposes. With more products requiring veterinary directives and less feed-grade antibiotics available through retail outlets, we expect more animal owners will seek veterinarian guidance either for a VFD, or other products to use in their place. Private practitioners working with any livestock owners (commercial or hobbyist) should become knowledgeable about the new regulations with antibiotic use. A website resource has been created by MDARD to help veterinarians and other stakeholders receive the most up-to-date information, click here to visit. Another resource for information or consultation is faculty with Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, 517-355-9593:

Drs. Dan Grooms and Ron Erskine, Cattle

Dr. Madonna Benjamin, Swine

Dr. Judy Martenuik, Small Ruminants 

Program Spotlight:

Pesticide & Plant Pest Management Division, Feed Program


As many know, the Animal Industry Division is a part of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and handles the majority of animal agriculture related activities for the state. However, another division of MDARD, who may be less known among veterinarians, plays a very active role in animal agriculture. MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division is responsible for regulating animal feed in Michigan, including VFD regulation which Michigan recently adopted in the Michigan Feed Law (P.A. 120 of 1975, amended 2015)The feed program serves more than 1,300 firms who manufacture or distribute more than three million tons of feed each year. PPPM protects the animal and human food supply by ensuring animal feeds and feed ingredients are safe and nutritious, properly labeled and free of contaminants and harmful residues. They inspect more than 300 facilities where animal feed and feed products are made or stored and regulate over 1,300 manufacturers and distributors of three million tons of commercial feed and feed ingredients.


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Contact the Animal Industry Division:

Constitution Hall
525 West Allegan Street
6th Floor, P.O. Box 30017
Lansing, MI 48909


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