Representatives Spiros, Berceau, Bernier, Jacque, Johnson,
Nass [now Senator], Ohnstad, Pasch, Schraa, Shankland, Sinicki, C. Taylor and Weatherston. Senator Carpenter added as a coauthor.
Assembly Bill: AB230: Introduced by Representatives Spiros, Berceau, Bernier, Jacque, Johnson, Nass [now Senator], Ohnstad, Pasch, Schraa, Shankland, Sinicki, C. Taylor and Weatherston; cosponsored by Senators Lassa and Risser
Summary: Under current law, if an animal is being held in custody, the owner of the animal is convicted of a crime related to animal fighting, and the animal is one year old or older or shows indication of having participated in fighting, the animal must be disposed of in a proper and humane manner.
Under the bill, if any animal is being held in custody and the owner of the animal is convicted of having participated in animal fighting, the animal may either be disposed of in a proper and humane manner or, if the person with custody of the animal determines that the animal does not pose a threat to humans or other animals, be released to a person other than the owner.
Why is this correction needed?
We have learned so much about dogfighting since the Michael Vick case. We have learned that dogs that are associated with bad owners can still be perfectly “normal” dogs! Not only that, but some of these dogs may have been stolen, or otherwise strayed into the wrong back yard. They should be evaluated by professionals and if safe, allowed to be released to a rescue organization.
Can a dangerous dog be released to the public?
Dogs associated with fight cases should be evaluated by a professional. We do NOT advocate for releasing dangerous dogs- but we do advocate for innocent dogs caught up in the crimes of their owners. Many rescues are capable of, and WANT to raise money for these victims of cruelty. In other cases, outside groups have volunteered their evaluations for free (such as Animal Farm Foundation, who recently volunteered to evaluate dogs in a Milwaukee fight bust). Having a bad owner should NOT be a death sentence for a dog!
What has to happen to get these bills active again?
Sponsors are needed to bring these bills up again. A public hearing is required in their appropriate committees. The Senate bill needs an identical Assembly bill (SB191 and AB230 are identical)
Have any of these bills gone to a public hearing? Yes, AB230 passed the Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security unanimously (Ayes 7, Noes 0) on 10/29/13