2006, 48 pit bulls allegedly used in dog fighting were seized by the FBI. These
dogs were held at the Dane County Humane Society pending resolution of the
criminal dog fighting charges.
As the state
and federal criminal cases proceeded, the dogs' owner filed a petition under
Chapter 173 of the Wisconsin Statutes (a civil statute) seeking the return of
his dogs. in March 2007, the civil matter was settled, with the owners agreeing
to surrender the dogs in return for a dismissal of charges and a waiver of
costs -- leaving DCHS with the bill of well over $200,000!
As a result
of this experience, many local governments, state prosecutors, humane
societies, and non-profits all over Wisconsin have combined forces to try to
have Chapter 173 modified to:
Shortened the length of time a shelter would have to
hold animals from a Chapter 173 seizure or a Chapter 951 criminal case,
lessening stress on the animals by reducing the time they must spend in shelter
Make provisions for an owner to pay for the reasonable
costs of custody and care for those animals.
AB-793/SB-580 was introduced to acheive these goals. Unfortunately,
AB-793/SB-580 did not make it through the legislative process in the last
session. We hope to have similar bills introduced and passed in the upcoming
legislative session, and feel that the information contained in the links at
the left will help form the foundation for future legislation.