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AB-793/SB-580, Revisions to Chapter 173 (Animal Seizure Law)

One of the dogs confiscated from Thyme and Sage Ranch.
(Click on photo for a larger view)
AB-793/ SB-580, Revisions to Chapter 173 (Animal Seizure Law)
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This pitbull was used as a bait dog in a pitbull fighting ring. After her rescue, her vet bills ran well over $1000.

        In mid-June 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 cages.

  • Make provisions for an owner to pay for the reasonable costs of custody and care for those animals.

       in 2010, 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.


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