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Wisconsin Animal Welfare Laws

TO: REPRESENTATIVE JON RICHARDS

FROM: Mark C. Patronsky, Senior Staff Attorney

RE: Statutes Related to Animal Welfare

DATE: January 9, 2003

This memorandum is in response to your request for a list and brief description of the current statutes that relate to animal welfare. Although there are many statutes related to animals, most of those statutes do not expressly state that the regulatory purpose is animal welfare. It has been necessary to make judgments regarding the statutes that are described in this memorandum. For example, the Tuberculosis Control Program administered by the DATCP under s. 95.25, Stats., obviously relates to the health of an individual animal. However, the primary purpose of this statute appears to be the maintenance of Wisconsin's tuberculosis-free status and the overall economic health of animal agriculture in Wisconsin. Statutes of this nature are not included in this memorandum. Other statutes may have a dual purpose, such as s. 951.095, Stats., relating to harassment of police and fire animals. This statute appears to relate both to preventing harm to the animals and penalizing interference with police and fire department functions. This type of statute is included in this memorandum.

The descriptions of each statute in this memorandum are necessarily brief, and the text of the statute should be consulted to gain a full understanding of the statutory provisions. A copy of each statute is included as an attachment to this memorandum. The statutory text in the attachment is current as the date of this memorandum.

It should be noted that this memorandum describes only statutes. There are a number of administrative rules that implements statutes described in this memorandum. Generally, the administrative rules relate to the details regarding how a program is implemented, such as the standards for keeping native animals in captivity promulgated by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The remainder of this memorandum contains a list and description of the statutes.

Click the link below to view a 2003 summary of animal welfare laws in Wisconsin. This memorandum was prepared for the Wisconsin Humane Society at the request of Rep. Jon Richards (Milwaukee). 

Summary of Laws