The stories currently circulating in traditional and social media are incomplete and conflicting. When we have more confirmed details, including the police report, we will share them.
We are deeply saddened by the tragedy in Dodge County last week. A young boy was attacked by a dog and died from his injuries. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends at this very sad time.
The stories currently circulating in traditional and social media are incomplete and conflicting. When we have more confirmed details, including the police report, we will share them.
Words matter. When we assign a label to a shelter dog or speak about "pit bull" dogs with the public, our words carry serious consequences. We owe it to the dogs to examine the language and labels we use to describe them.
There is no standard legal definition for "pit bull." So, the use of that label, "pit bull", is arbitrary, subjective, and often randomly applied.
Approximately 50% of the 78 million dogs living in the U.S. today are mixed-breed dogs (2009-10 American Pet Products Manufactures Association survey).
When labels are applied, correctly or not, it can mean the difference between life or death. No dog should be discriminated against because of a label. When a person calls a dog a "pit bull," or a "pit bull mix," that dog is now saddled with a label that might get him killed in a shelter that does not adopt out "pit bulls," or kicked out of a community with Breed Discriminatory Legislation (BDL).
A label will stick with a dog for the rest of its life. A label can mean discrimination, losing its home, or even death. Labels are a problem for the dogs when shelter staff, or veterinarians (considered to be the local experts on animals), allow adopters, politicians, and community members to think that the label assigned can predict who that dog is or will be.
Unless you are certain of a dog's breeding or heritage, please just call them a mixed breed dog, or better yet; let's just call them dogs.
"There is so much behavioral variability within each breed, and even more within breed mixes, that we cannot reliably predict a dog's behavior or his suitability for a particular adopter based on breed alone. Each dog is an individual." Amy Marder, V.M.D., CAAB, Director of the Center for Shelter Dogs, Animal Rescue League of Boston
(The above information was compiled from the Animal Farm Foundation website)
The Village of Cambridge, Wisconsin is a small, pleasant town on the border of Dane and Jefferson County. The Village has a population of 1457 people.
Recently, local residents and their adopted "pit bull" terrier, Sherlock, became the center of controversy between the resident's condo association, other condo residents, and the village board. You can read the background of the story by clicking this link.
At the August 26 council meeting the issue was discussed and a motion was made to remove the breed discriminatory language from the existing ordinance and send the ordinance back to be drafted with breed neutral language. The motion passed unanimously.
Hats off to the elected officials in Cambridge. They listened carefully to all of the testimony presented to them and made a decision based on fact, not misinformation. ALL dog lovers can once again enjoy living in and visiting Cambridge.
You can see the WKOW - Madison news story video from last night's meeting by clicking this link.
The Village of Muscoda, Wisconsin, is best known as the "Morel Mushroom Capital of Wisconsin." The Village has a population of 1,300 and is nestled on the borders of Iowa, Grant, and Richland counties.
Recently, a local resident and "pit bull" terrier owner approached the council with concerns about their outdated Breed Discriminatory Ordinance. Other local advocates voiced their support.
At the July 8 council meeting the issue was discussed and a motion was made to repeal the ordinance and recreate a breed neutral dangerous dog ordinance. The motion passed unanimously.
Hats off to the elected officials in Muscoda. ALL dog lovers can once again enjoy living in and visiting the Morel Mushroom Capital of Wisconsin!
Here is a screen shot from the meeting minutes:
Here is the proposed new breed neutral ordinance:
Wisconsin Voters for Companion Animals opposes Breed Discriminatory Legislation. In America, responsible pet owners should be allowed to own whatever dog they choose without the hardships of additional requirement or restriction not faced by other owners. 84% of Americans agree that government has no business telling responsible citizens what breed of dog they may own.
Did you know that the City of Milwaukee has Breed Discriminatory Legislation against dogs that are one half or more American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier, American Pitbull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier and Rottweilers?
Here is what the City of Milwaukee ordinance includes:
Leash and Training Requirement: "Any person who walks a Pitbull or Rottweiler must be at least 16 years old and be able to control the animal. A person older than 16 who is of slight stature may not be able to conrol a large Rottweiler and may not walk the dog. In addition, the owner of the dog must attend a dog behavior class."
Fence or Kennel Requirements: The owner of a Pitbull or Rottweiler dog must have one of the following installed in their yard.
Option #1: Install a fence that is sufficient to contain the dog. Sufficient height is determined on a case by case basis by a DNS inspector. Climbable objects may not be placed next to the fence if they may allow the dog to jump out of the yard.
The fence must be made of non-climbable material (such as stockade type fencing). The fence must be set at least 3 feet from any alley, sidewalk or other public right of way.
The dog may not be allowed to dig under the fence. Steps must be taken to prevent this from happening. Failure to comply with this ordinance can result in multiple citations being issued where penalties can exceed $2000.
Note that a fence higher than 4 feet may not be installed in a front or side yard and 6 feet is the height maximum for a back yard fence. (Note that many dogs can climb standard chain link fences. If you install a chain link fence and your dog learns to climb it you will be required to replace it).
A permit is required to install a fence.
Option #2: Install a kennel sufficient to contain the dog. The kennel must have a concrete floor. The fencing for the kennel must be non-climbable and may need to be higher than six feet if a doghouse is placed in the kennel, as the dog could climb onto the house and escape the kennel. This can be prevented by installing a securely attached roof on the kennel.
Chain link fencing with an attached roof is acceptable for a kennel. Rottweilers and pitbulls must be placed ina an approved kennel if left outside unless the yard is enclosed with a fence as described previously in option #1.
A permit is required to install a kennel.
We believe there is a BETTER way: Officials will make our communities safer by implementing strong breed-neutral policies that target reckless owners, (not responsible owners), since they are the real cause of the most dangerous dogs.
Milwaukee Animal Alliance, a grassroots organization dedicated to animal welfare, has created a fun, positive approach to encourage people to "Adopt Local" by supporting those shelters and rescues that source at least 75% of their animals from Wisconsin.
"The "local" movement encourages people to shop and dine at local businesses," said Kelly Herbold, MAA spokesperson. "Through this campaign, we also want to encourage Wisconsin residents to adopt local.
Milwaukee Animal Alliance supports Wisconsin shelters and rescues that address the needs of local animals," said Herbold. "Wisconsin has wonderful pets right here that need homes, and we believe the shelters and rescues we highlight are making the best use of time, money and resources to help these amazing, local animals."
The following local personalities pose with Wisconsin rescue pets in a series of ads designed to encourage the public to "Adopt Local". Check out Milwaukee Animal Alliance on Facebook
and their website!
In response to concerns about the person living at 22415 Rockville Road in Manitowoc County, WI, becoming a repeat animal hoarder, a meeting was held on Thursday, July 10th. Attending the meeting were residents who live in the same community as the alleged hoarder, law enforcement officials, the community’s president and representatives from the Lakeshore Humane Society, Sheboygan Animal Resource Center and Wisconsin Voters for Companion Animals. In total, 31 people were present to discuss what could be done to protect the animals currently living at the above address and what should be done to hold their owner accountable for hoarding for the second time over the course of a year.
According to the area’s constable, “We [residents and law and health department officials] have found ourselves in a quagmire.” The gentlemen went on to explain that he is powerless to present complaints about what is occurring on Rockville Road to the sheriff because people who are contacting him with their concerns are refusing to leave their names and numbers. Without those pieces of information, the constable cannot approach the region’s sheriff about taking legal action. To encourage people to step forward, the constable assured the meeting’s audience members that they would have to do nothing beyond sharing their names and contact information in the context of ensuring justice is meted out in this instance.
When the community’s board president spoke, he said he is investigating whether or not the presumed hoarder is breaking any laws he is presently unaware of and promised to get a humane official involved with dealing with the situation. He also stated that he will contact the town attorney to see if the Rockville Road resident can be held legally responsible for hoarding animals again.
Recently, two sheriff’s officers went to the supposed hoarder’s home to check on the animals living there. While they were denied entry to the house, they were given permission to walk around the property. During their time there, the two officers saw caged animals who, in their opinion, appeared to be in good health.
On Tuesday of this week, representatives from Manitowoc’s health department visited the property and they, too, were denied entry to the home because the resident claimed to be in the midst of a cleaning project. The representatives intend to return to the property at a later date.
Link to Milwaukee Animal Welfare Examiner article:
Link to news story from WeAreGreenBay.com http://www.wearegreenbay.com/1fulltext-news/d/story/update-possible-animal-hoarding/20338/Reb7fsE_jkeWdTjk8DzsSg
The following is a response by Greg Hoffman, Watertown, to an article that appeared in Walworth County Today.
Also attached to this article is the 74 page police report of the Dax Borchardt case.
Dear Ms. Plevak,
I read your article regarding Daxton and Jeff Borchardt (“Education effort arises from tragedy”, http://www.walworthcountytoday.com/article/20140228/WC/140229750 and it concerns me that only certain aspects of Mr. Borchardt’s story are presented. That all the facts need to be considered is important because the brand of canine “education” preferred by Mr. Borchardt is neither objective or based in facts. I had the experience of meeting him and Ms. Ilwicki (the babysitter in the incident) when they came to Watertown to support an attempt to get pit bull terriers banned by a member of the city council. This would have severely impacted many dog owners in the area and it took months of work by many concerned citizens, mainly dog owners of all breeds, to keep his influence out of our city.
That the attack occurred and was horrific in nature cannot be argued, but one significant question that has yet to be answered by either law enforcement or the media is about the factors contributing to the attack. What was the true nature of environment that these dogs were in and how did that environment contribute to the incident?
I’ve obtained a copy of the compiled police, EMS and Animal Control reports from that incident and would be happy to share them with you. (Documents are now attached below) I understand you’re busy and it’s a large document of about 75 pages, but it’s important to draw your attention to three items in the reports.
1. On page 6, line 7 the report by Detective Michael J. Banaszynski states that the owner of the dogs (Iwicki) stated that “both dogs together were fed one cup of dog food in the morning and one cup of food in the evening.” For dogs of that type and size this small quantity amounts to a starvation diet, essentially ½-cup twice daily. This is in a best case scenario– if the dogs were fed in the same area and not separately it’s likely that the dominant dog would eat most of the food, leaving the other dog even hungrier.
2. On page 20, in the third paragraph of the report by deputy Cory Newman, two inmates at the Walworth County Jail who apparently knew Borchardt (“DJ Bogart” is Jeff Borchart’s name in his DJ business) discussed physical and mental abuse by the owners of the dogs.
3. On page 23, in the third sentence of the fourth paragraph of the report by Deputy Daniel Long, he states that he observed stacked cages of rabbits in the house that the dogs jumped at while he was waiting.
Main article: dog-baiting
"Bait" animals are animals used to test a dog's fighting instinct; they are often mauled or killed in the process. Many of the training methods involve torturing and killing of other innocent animals. Often "bait" animals are stolen pets, puppies, kittens, rabbits, small dogs and even stock (pit bulls acquired by the dogfighting ring which appear to be passive or less dominant). Other sources for bait animals include wild or feral animals, animals obtained from a shelter, or animals obtained from “free to good home” ads. The snouts of bait animals are often wrapped with duct tape to prevent them from fighting back and they are used in training sessions to improve a dog’s endurance, strength or fighting ability. A bait animal’s teeth may also be broken to prevent them from fighting back. If the bait animals are still alive after the training sessions, they are usually given to the dogs as a reward, and the dogs finish killing them.”
I bring these points to your attention because the use of bait animals is a technique used to train fighting dogs, and slow starvation and the competition for limited food only serve to build aggression further. I found the above information in Wikipedia, which admittedly isn’t a journalistic source however there isn’t much information available on the training of fighting dogs and it is important to bring this up because of the circumstances.
Without further investigation it will never be known if these dogs were being trained to fight, but based on what I’ve read in the police reports, the environment these dogs were in was similar to one which would be found where dogs are trained to fight. When I met her in Watertown Ms. Ilwicki didn't strike me as the 4H type that would be raising rabbits for the county fair, so why did she have multiple cages of rabbits in the house and semi-starved dogs?
What’s worse, why would a responsible parent drop off a child in a daycare environment with these elements? It’s evident that Mr. Borchardt and Ms. Ilwicki and her boyfriend (who was listed as the actual owner of the dogs and yet apparently never interviewed by law enforcement afterwards) knew each other before the incident so it’s likely that he was aware of the environment the dogs were in. If this is the case the guilt must be a horrible burden to bear.
While it appears that this burden has been harnessed to a purpose, the fallout of his actions has impacted the lives of many others in negative ways. He has named my wife, among others, as one of the responsible parties in the death of his son in a public forum, making her a potential target for hostile actions. Ironically, on this fairly lengthy list assigning blame for the death of his son, his own name is absent. His stated mission is to ban certain types of dogs entirely – we were preparing to sell our house and move in the event that the attempted breed ban he was advising took effect.
In your article his efforts appear well-intentioned but caution is advised in what appears to be an implied endorsement - being a dog-bite victim does not translate into becoming a dog bite expert. I take issue with many “facts” he has on his web page and believe that spreading misinformation does not serve the public interest. If you have questions please let me know.
This is a response to a Wauwatosa resident's concern about feral cats posted in the May 29 edition of Wauwautosa Now. Thank you to Lisa Frymark for allowing us to republish this as a guest blog.
Maryann Ostrenga's concerns regarding the Wauwatosa feral cat population (May 29 Public Forum letter) can be eased with three letters: TNR.
Community/feral cats produce the majority of kittens turned in to animal control facilities like the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission. For decades, trap-and-kill has been the method of choice by animal control to reduce community/feral cat populations. This method is costly to taxpayers and has repeatedly been shown to be ineffective.
Municipalities around the country have embraced a non-lethal approach — Trap-Neuter-Return. In a TNR program, community cats are humanely trapped, evaluated by a veterinarian, spayed/neutered, vaccinated against rabies, ear-tipped (so someone finding the cat knows it has been spayed/neutered/evaluated), and returned to the habitat where they were originally trapped.
Milwaukee County currently has no program in place to humanely reduce the community/feral cat population. TNR — using volunteers and available grant funding — improves public health, decreases nuisance complaints and stabilizes/reduces the number of feral cats and kittens.
As a Wauwatosa resident, I want the same things Ms. Ostrenga does. However, mass killing of community cats leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
A sensible TNR policy is good fiscal and ethical policy. Contact your local representative and ask them to enact TNR legislation.
Alley Cat Allies (www.alleycat.org) and The Humane Society of the United States (www.humanesociety.org) have a lot of information on the benefits of TNR. On a local level, the Wisconsin Cat Project (www.facebook.com/wisconsincatproject) is seeking volunteers in all 19 Milwaukee County municipalities to help implement TNR. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
Please visit the original online article to add your comments in support of TNR. Here is the link: http://www.wauwatosanow.com/news/trap-neuter-return-is-best-feral-cat-policy-b99288974z1-262651011.html
A Wisconsin family was planning their camping vacation in Green Lake County but noticed that their family would not be welcome at the Green Lake Campground.
From the campgound's pet policy: "No aggressive breeds are permitted, including but not limited to pit bulls, mastiffs, and dobermans.
Instead of protecting their clientele from unruly dogs by implementing and enforcing good dog policies; this campground has chosen to discriminate against the millions of responsible people in America who choose to own one of the listed breeds (and who camp).
The Green Lake Campground gets a big THUMBS DOWN from us. There are plenty of other dog-friendly campgrounds that do NOT discriminate.
If you know of other Wisconsin businesses that discriminate against breeds of dogs, please email them to us at email@example.com. We will be happy to share them.