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ALERT UPDATE: PASSED IN THE ASSEMBLY; ASK YOUR SENATORS TO VOTE NO ON AB 957/SB 892: RELATING TO: PREEMPTION OF CERTAIN LOCAL ANIMAL ORDINANCES

Updated 2/28/24
 

PASSED IN THE ASSEMBLY; MESSAGED TO THE SENATE WHERE IT WILL PROBABLY BE FAST-TRACKED TO A VOTE. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SENATOR AND ASK HIM/HER TO VOTE NO ON SB 892/AB 957, RELATING TO: PREEMPTION OF CERTAIN LOCAL ANIMAL ORDINANCES!

We expect action on the bill in the State Sentate soon.

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Coonhound at the Spring Green research puppy mill     SB 892, Relating to: preemption of certain local animal ordinances, was introduced on Januiary 5, 2024, by Senator Quinn and cosponsored by Representatives Pronschinske, Dallman, Armstrong, Behnke, O'Connor, Schmidt and Wichgers. It was assigned to the Committee on Agriculture and Tourism. On January 25th, Rep. Behnke withdrew as a cosponsor. On February 1, Sen. Testin, who is also a member of the Committee on Agriculture and Tourism, was added as a coauthor. AB 957 was passed with two amendments on 2/22/24 and "messaged" to the Senate. On Feb. 27, the bill was withdrawn from the Committee on Agriculture and Tourism and rereferred to Committee on Financial Institutions and Sporting Heritage pursuant to Senate Rule 46(2)(c). We expect the Senate to vote on the Assembly version with amendments soon.

 pawprint bullet point  Committee on Financial Institutions and Sporting Heritage    pawprint bullet point

     On January 16, 2024, a companion bill, AB 957, was introduced by Representatives Pronschinske, Dallman, Armstrong, Behnke, O'Connor, Schmidt and Wichgers and cosponsored by Senator Quinn. It was referred to the Committee on Local Government, and a public hearing was immediately scheduled for Wednesday, January 24, 2024, 11:01 AM at 328 Northwest. On January 25th, Rep. Behnke withdrew as a coauthor. On Jan. 31, executive action was taken and on Feb. 5, moved out of Committee with two amendments, "passage as amended recommended, Ayes 8, Noes 4." AB 957 was passed with two amendments on 2/22/24 and "messaged" to the Senate.

 pawprint bullet point   Committee Hearing Materials/Testomony   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   Amendment 1   pawprint bullet point   Amendment 2   pawprint bullet point

     Essentially, SB 892/AB 957 seeks to create "173.90 of the statutes" -- a new section of WI's animal welfare laws -- that would eliminate local governments' ability to regulate all animal breeders (including companion animal breeders and dogs bred for research), as well as pet stores, farms, roadside zoos, animal trainers, kennels of any kind, and virtually any other commercial animal operation located in agricultural areas of the municipality. It would also eliminate local governments' ability to enforce existing local regulations and restrictions already in place.

WE STRONGLY OPPOSE SB 892/AB 957: Relating to: preemption of certain local animal ordinances, which would erode protections for all animals by preventing municipalities from enacting animal protection ordinances for companion animals, puppy mills, research animal breeders/facilities, captive wildlife, farm animals etc.and chip away at enforcement oversight and authority.

 pawprint bullet point   SB 892/ AB 957 Bill History   pawprint bullet point

 

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Bill Summary (by the Legislative Reference Bureau):

Current law specifies animal welfare standards, identifies and prohibits a number of crimes against animals, and requires rabies vaccinations and local dog licenses and tags for dogs. Under current law, a city, village, town, or county (political subdivision) may appoint humane officers who may, in addition to law enforcement officers, investigate and enforce these state laws as well as local ordinances relating to animals.

However, SB 892/AB 957:

  • prohibits political subdivisions from establishing animal welfare standards that are more stringent than those contained in state law, for animal facilities in areas that are zoned exclusively or primarily for agricultural use, unless the activity being regulated presents a substantial threat to public health or safety,

  • prohibits political subdivisions from requiring or prohibiting animal medications or vaccinations that are not otherwise required or prohibited under state law,

  • prohibits political subdivisions from regulating the use to which an animal will be put, either on a farm or facility or after it leaves the farm or facility,

  • prohibits political subdivisions from regulating the species of animals that are allowed to be raised within an area that is zoned exclusively or primarily for agricultural use, and

  • prohibits political subdivisions from enforcing any existing regulations that conflict with the provisions of the bill, unless the activity being regulated presents a substantial threat to public health or safety.

 

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WHAT YOU CAN DO:

     General guidelines for contacting your representatives: Try to keep your message brief, and be sure to give your name, complete mailing address, and phone number. Let your representative know that you are a constituent. Please, ALWAYS be polite and respectful. Name-calling, and rude or abusive letters or emails will hurt, rather than help, our cause.

  • The Assembly PASSED AB 957 on Feb. 22, 2024 and "messaged" it to the Senate.

  • No public hearing has yet been scheduled by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Tourism. We expect that the Senate will vote on AB 957 with amendments, as passed by the Assembly, very soon.

    PLEASE contact your Senators ASAP and ask them to VOTE NO on AB 957/SB 892/: Relating to: preemption of certain local animal ordinances. Please note that the supporters of this bill -- including the WI Bear Hunters Association and the WI Biomedical Research Coalition -- are VERY vocal, so every email or phone call is important!

  • Please see our Talking Points for more resources.

 pawprint bullet point   Find your WI State Representatives   pawprint bullet point   What To Expect At A Public Hearing   pawprint bullet point

 

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Talking Points:

  • SB 892/AB 957: Relating to: preemption of certain local animal ordinances would erode protections for all animals by preventing municipalities from enacting animal protection ordinances for companion animals, puppy mills, research animal breeders/facilities, captive wildlife, etc. as well as farm animals, and chip away at enforcement oversight and authority.

  • SB 892/AB 957 seeks to create a new section of WI's animal welfare laws that would eliminate local governments' ability to regulate all animal breeders (including companion animal breeders and dogs bred for research), as well as farm animals, pet stores, roadside zoos, animal trainers, kennels of any kind, and virtually any other commercial animal operation located in agricultural areas of the municipality. It would also eliminate local governments' ability to enforce existing local regulations and restrictions already in place.

  • This bill would nullify any local bans on "research puppy mills" as well as requiring that animals "retired" from use in labs be sent to rescues and/ or given the opportunity to be adopted.

  • Local authorities would no longer be able to limit the number of any type of animals on properties in areas zoned for agriculture. This includes animals in roadside zoos.

  • Local authorities would no longer be able to set or enforce standards of care for tethered or other outside dogs in areas zoned agricultural.

  • Local authorities/ humane officers may be hampered in dealing with nuisance animal breeders or known animal hoarders.

  • Assembly Committee on Local Government Hearing Materials/Testomony

  • The bill will undermine the animal humane standards that currently exist in Wisconsin and will make it difficult for communities to speak up for animals living in inhumane conditions. The 2022 Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) State Animal Protection Laws Ranking Report rated Wisconsin 27th.

 

Coonhounds in a commercial breeding facility for research dogs


 pawprint bullet point   Bill Text   pawprint bullet point   Bill History   pawprint bullet point   Bill Summary   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point  TAKE ACTION    pawprint bullet point   Talking Points   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   Find your WI State Representatives   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   What To Expect At A Public Hearing   pawprint bullet point

 

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