- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate has delayed voting on legislation that would reclassify and stiffen criminal penalties for people who treat animals cruelly or neglect them.

The bills were expected to be approved Tuesday and sent to the House. But majority Republican senators had questions about the measures in a closed-door meeting and decided to postpone voting.

The legislation would create harsher felony penalties if people abuse or neglect 10 or more animals. The current law would be extended to specifically cover breeders and pet shop owners.

Someone convicted of killing or mutilating an animal now gets up to four years in prison.

The bills would increase prison time to up to 10 years if the animal was a pet and the defendant killed it to hurt or threaten another person.

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