Four proposals have been introduced by the Madison City Council that will have a direct impact on...
Four proposals have been introduced by the Madison City Council that will have a direct impact on dog owners, fanciers, breeders, and sportsmen in the city.
Residents and those that participate in dog events in Madison are strongly encouraged to contact the council regarding these proposals, as well as the commissions mentioned below. Click here to view the names of the council members, and also a tool to help you determine which alder represents you.
Four proposals are under consideration. Each must first be considered by a board or commission before being brought to the council.
This proposal must first be considered by the Planning Commission. Click here for the names and e-mails of the commissioners:
File #35830 – This proposal would amend the city’s zoning code to regulate “home breeding”. The proposal states that no one may breed more than one litter per year unless they are licensed by the state or are considered “an American Kennel Club sanctioned breeder.” The State of Wisconsin requires licensing for those who sell at least 25 dogs/year from at least 3 litters. This license also includes inspections.
The proposal states that those who are “AKC sanctioned” must participate in at least one AKC conformation show every 365 days. AKC is communicating to the council that we do not license or sanction breeders. It is also of concern that no one could breed more than one litter unless they participate in an AKC conformation event every year. This also does not take into account field trials or the myriad of other AKC events in which owners of intact dogs participate, nor does it consider those who do not participate in AKC events, or choose to take a year off from the show ring.
The following three proposals must first be considered by the Board of Health for Madison and Dane County. It is expected the board will place these on the agenda for November 6.
File #35827 – This proposal begins with a statement that the city is experiencing an “overwhelming incident of unaltered dogs running at large and causing injury…”. It states that unaltered animals “exhibit hormone induced aggression that may increase incidents of attacks.” It claims that altering aggressive animals will “prevent the possibility of aggressive traits [resulting from] breeding of these animals.” As a result of these statements, the proposal states that the Madison Dane County Board of Public Health may order a dog to be spayed or neutered within 30 days if any of the following occur:
1) The dog is found running at large on three separate occasions.
2) The dog is acting aggressively and is running at large (it is not clear how “aggressive” would be defined or determined).
3) The dog has caused injury to a person or animal. “Injury” is defined in current law as any time a dog bites, attacks, or otherwise injures. This could potentially mean that if a dog bites someone – regardless of the severity – the dog may have to be sterilized.
4) The dog causes injury to a person on the owner’s property. Again, the term "injury” could include any bite. There are also no exemptions for a dog that has been provoked or is protecting its owner or property.
5) A dog owned or kept by an individual who is in violation of the “home dog breeding” regulations (see File #35830).
There appear to be no exemptions for a dog that has been provoked or is protecting its owner or property. There also appears to be no consideration for the age of the dog ( e.g. the nip of a teething puppy.) Noncompliance is subject to a $2,000 fine, and each day of the violation would be considered a separate offense.
The AKC is extremely concerned with this proposal. Mandatory spay/neuter is not an appropriate solution to at-large dog concerns. Better alternatives include stronger enforcement of leash and containment laws that directly address the problem of loose dogs. Breed-neutral dangerous dog laws are more appropriate and effective than mandatory spay neuter laws that potentially punish responsible dog owners, harm dogs, and have been found to be extremely difficult to enforce.
File #35833 – This proposal would increase the license fees for both altered and intact dogs and cats.
The license fee for altered dogs is increased from $15 to $20. The fee for intact dogs would be more than doubled from $20 to $45. Current law requires a license for every dog that is at least five months of age.
File #35826 – The proposal significantly expands the definition of “neglect” to include failing to provide at least 10 feet of rope or chain when a dog that is tethered “unsupervised” outside. It also would include leaving a dog outside unsupervised for more than 15 minutes without access to adequate shelter. It does not appear to allow exemptions for dog training or field trials. Also, requiring an arbitrary length of tether could in fact pose harm to dogs in some circumstances.
This proposal also amends the definition of “cruel” to include separating a puppy from its mother before it is seven weeks of age. A better approach is to avoid arbitrary requirements in new laws, and to focus on specific circumstances where negligence or lack of responsible care has led to the harm of a dog.
AKC Government Relations and the Dog Federation of Wisconsin are closely monitoring these four proposals and will provide more information as it becomes available. For more information, contact the Dog Federation of Wisconsin at firstname.lastname@example.org or AKC Government Relations at (919) 816-3720 or email@example.com.