David Mangold, a long time advocate to improve the system for Milwaukee's seized dogs provided the following written testimony for the public hearing for the bill.
Thank you for your consideration of SB450/AB487 that would save dogs seized in fighting/cruelty investigations. Thank you Senator Petrowski for introducing this bill, and Rep. Spiros for authoring this bill. Thanks to all that have sponsored and co-sponsored this bill.
I’ve been an advocate for seized dogs from fight busts and animals held in crimes against animals since the day I learned of a dog fighting bust back in Milwaukee, on June 10, 2011.
On that day, I learned that despite my best efforts, our local animal control did not have the best interests of seized dogs in mind. As a concerned citizen, I attempted (within what little power I had), to convince the authorities to give these dogs conditions that would help keep them safe and happy in a long term situation – to have properly sized kennels for their size and breed, to be given daily mental stimulation, training, and outdoor time. To assess them behaviorally so that the gentle ones with no behavior risks could be handled by volunteers. But our local animal control told me that all these dogs were untouchable and unable to be even seen by volunteers, regardless of their behavior. They all were kept in an evidence locker in a closed-off back room, only to slowly become too cage crazy to rehabilitate, after 4 years of isolation. Many if not most, had to be put down. Animal Control taped paper to the only window they had to the outside world, because they would get excited when someone walked by – their only stimulation.
Our local animal control in Milwaukee (MADACC) is a temporary holding facility, which does not in my opinion, have the proper shelter design for long term holds. Because MADACC is a semi-governmental semi-private commision, they are not held to the standards of Act 90; they are somehow exempt. Unfortunately, they do hold the contract with the City of Milwaukee for holding seized dogs as long as necessary for a court case & trial of their abusers . The dogs from the fight bust in 2011 were held for 4 long years; some of them began hurting themselves within one year due to their isolation and had to be humanely euthanized before the trials even began. We still do not have a full accounting of every dog that went through the process, as our local animal control has declined all open record information requests related to the issue based on ‘ongoing investigations’, despite cases that have concluded long ago. We expect they will remain completely unaccountable for outcome of these dogs, using the ‘ongoing investigations’ clause indefinitely or until interest runs out, whichever happens first.
I have done many radio interviews, appeared in various newscasts on this issue. I have a popular social media site about saving Milwaukee’s Court Case Dogs.
I fully support this bill with one exception.
I believe reducing the hold times for lost dogs and cats is a separate issue, and this should not be considered as part of this bill. It is attaching an unneeded and unwanted controversy to what otherwise would be an outstanding bill for the cause that is most dearest to my heart.
The reduced hold time has struck such a nerve in the community that I believe there should be a robust debate, separate from this issue. We should have the opportunity to discuss the hold time issue, without putting the court case dogs bill in jeopardy. We should in fact look at the lost dog process in Wisconsin, examine failure points in the process, and propose good fixes utilizing basic innovations that should be made available to every holding facility at very little cost to the taxpayer.
I ask that you amend this bill to strike the lower hold time for lost dogs; and pass the bill.
We must (and we will) Save Milwaukee’s (and Wisconsin’s) Court Case Dogs with your kind help.