Wisconsin Bill Advancing to Allow Citizens to Remove Animals from Vehicles

The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a measure that would allow citizens to use reasonable force to enter a vehicle if it is believed that a person or domestic animal inside the vehicle is in imminent danger.

The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a measure that would allow citizens to use reasonable force to enter a vehicle if it is believed that a person or domestic animal inside the vehicle is in imminent danger. 

Under Assembly Bill 308 as passed by the Assembly, a person would be immune from civil liability for property damage or injury that results from their forced entry if ALL of the following apply:

  • The person has a good faith belief that a person or domestic animal is in imminent danger of suffering bodily harm unless they are removed from the vehicle;
  • The vehicle was locked and forced entry was necessary;
  • The person dialed 911 or contacted law enforcement, emergency medical services or animal control before they entered the vehicle and the person remained with the person or animal until they arrive;
  • The person used no more force than was necessary; and
  • If the person leaves the scene before the owner of the vehicle returns, they must leave a note on the windshield that includes their name, phone number and address, the reason they entered the vehicle, and the location of the person or animal if known. 

It is unclear if there is recourse for the owner of the vehicle or animal for damage incurred when the person or animal in the car was not in danger.

The bill is now in the Senate, and could be considered very soon.  A companion bill, Senate Bill 230, has already unanimously passed Senate committee.  To find the name and contact information for your State Senator, type your address in the “Find My Legislators” box at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/ or call the Wisconsin Legislature hotline.

For more information, contact the Dog Federation of Wisconsin at doglaw@dfow.net.