Battle Creek's Humane Society of South Central Michigan has not yet decided if it will employ the use of criminal background checks when deciding on pet adoptions. That's the word from HSSCM executive director Jessica Gilbert, who said Humane Society staff and board of directors will review the legislation and make a decision whether to perform the checks.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley signed the legislation into law in late December, which proponents believe will give shelters more latitude to protect animals from potential abusers.

Gilbert tells WBCK she can cite examples of adoptions performed at her shelter over the years which have resulted in situations where animals were surrendered to shelters after they were adopted. She said such latitude to check backgrounds might have prevented such placements in those cases.

However, Gilbert said employing the checks will require extensive training of shelter staff on protocols for handling sensitive information that will be accessible in the information gleaned. She suspects the shelter may decide to use the checks only in certain situations, but it won't be decided definitively until they have had more time to evaluate their options.

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