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Wisconsin Animal Welfare Laws

Prohibitions: Civil Penalties

Section 29.088 (1) and (2) prohibits the use of bait containing poison in forests, fields, or other places where it might destroy wild animals or birds. No person may take a wild animal with explosives or poison gas.

Chapter 951 contains the statutes regarding crimes against animals and contain civil forfeitures as well as animal penalties. The key statutes in this chapter relate to mistreating animals, instigating fights between animals, abandoning animals, and shooting at caged or staked animals. This chapter also contains prohibitions on the sale of artificially colored live chicks or ducklings, and harassment of police or fire animals.

Prohibitions: Criminal Penalties

Section 94.708 Prohibits the sale or use of pesticides for bat control, except in emergency situations. 

Section 95.235 Prohibits the sale of utensils painted with any substance having a toxic effect on livestock, where the utensil is intended for the purpose of feeding livestock.

Section 134.52 prohibits the shipment of chickens in crowded or congested conditions that endanger the well-being of the chickens.

Section 562.105 requires the use of humane methods to kill racing dogs.

Miscellaneous Regulations

Section 195.24 requires railroads to give precedence to shipments of livestock over other freight.

Section 562.001 expresses a legislative intent that animals bred and used for racing in the state be treated humanely throughout their lives.

Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Section 169.39 requires the DNR to promulgate rules regarding the humane care and housing of native wild animals that are held in captivity.

Department of Administration (DOA)

Section 562.02 (1) (b) requires DOA to promulgate rules to assure the humane treatment of animals used for racing in this state.

University of Wisconsin

Section 36.40 requires the Board of Regents to adopt criteria regarding the humane treatment of animals for scientific research purposes.

Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

Section 93.07 (10) authorizes DATCP to protect the health of domestic animals in this state.

Section 93.07 (11) authorizes DATCP to cooperate with humane societies and humane officers in the enforcement of laws related to humane education and the prevention of cruelty to animals.

Section 95.68 (8) authorizes DATCP to promulgate rules to regulate the humane treatment of animals in livestock markets, and requires compliance with those rules.

Section 95.69 (8) authorizes DATCP to promulgate rules to regulate the humane treatment of animals by livestock dealers, and requires compliance with those rules.

Section 173.27 requires DATCP to promulgate rules regarding the training and certification of humane officers.

Section 173.40 (5) authorizes DATCP to promulgate rules setting minimum requirements for humane care of animals by the operator of an animal shelter or kennel.

Section 173.15 authorizes local units of government to provide or contract for the adequate care and treatment of animals taken into custody by a humane officer or law enforcement officer.

Section 173.21 authorizes a local governmental unit or person contracting with the local governmental unit to withhold an animal in custody from an owner if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the owner has mistreated the animal in violation of ch. 951, Stats.

Humane Officers, Law Enforcement Officers, Veterinarians

Section 95.21 (4) (b) and (5) (d) requires a humane officer, local health officer, or law enforcement officer to order a dog or cat quarantined if it is suspected of having rabies. And authorizes the officer to kill the animal in a humane manner if quarantine cannot be imposed because the animal cannot be captured.

Section 173.07 gives humane officers broad authority regarding statutes and ordinances relating to animals.

Section 173.10 authorizes the issuance of search warrants to investigate violations of ch. 951 Stats, relating to crimes against animals.

Section 173.12 requires a veterinarian to submit a report to the local humane officer or law enforcement agency if the veterinarian believes that an animal has been in a fight in violation of s.951.08, Stats.

Humane Organizations

Section 70.11 (28) Provides a property tax exemption for property owned and operated by a humane society that is a nonprofit organization.

Section 174.09 requires the payment of surplus dog license taxes to the county humane society or other organization that provides a pound.

Section 95.01 prohibits the administration of dugs to a horse in order to affect the performance of the horse in a pulling contest.

Section 95.72 (10) requires that live downer animals that are picked up for animal food processing or rendering must be slaughtered humanely before loading for transport.

Section 95.80 defines humane methods of slaughter and requires that humane methods be used by any slaughterer.

Section 174.13 authorizes the officer or pound which has custody of an unclaimed dog to release the dog to scientific or educational institutions. 

Section 350.07 prohibits the use of a snowmobile to drive or pursue an animal, except as part of normal farming operations involving the driving of livestock.