The following testimony has been prepared by Annie’s owner for the Public Hearing on AB487 on Wednesday, January 13 at 1:30 p.m. This bill has been introduced into the Wisconsin State Legislature and seeks to reduce the required stray hold for found animals from the current seven days to only four days. The main intent of this bill (Assembly Bill 487 and the Senate companion bill SB450) is to improve the outcome for seized dogs (often called Court Case dogs) in Wisconsin, which of course is a very good thing! Unfortunately, Wisconsin Humane Society and the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) who helped draft the bill have also included a paragraph that reduces the stray hold for all lost pets(dogs AND cats).
I could not disagree more with the “logic” put forth by Spiros and Petrowski. Nor, as I have learned, do the many fine small rescue groups in the state.
As someone who lost a pet, I can attest to needing the longer time period. First, we were on vacation when our dog disappeared (not uncommon as I have learned), so it was three days before I could begin looking for my girl. Next, she disappeared from East Troy farm area, so I had a minimum of three shelters to check. The Racine County shelter is located at the east end of the county, adding to my distress. One major issue, of which I was unaware so you may be also, is that giving shelters a verbal description of your pet gives you a false sense of security. I received calls, only to find that the animal was nowhere close to matching a description of my Annie. This meant that I had to visit these sites and make a visual check of animals that had been brought in.
I’m really distressed that the authors would once again pull that “taxpayer money” language since owners are charged a hefty amount when, and if, they retrieve their beloved pet, as is an adoptive family. So that’s just political jargon meant to perk the ears of the uninformed!
If they, or you, truly wish to reduce the amount of time a lost animal is in shelter, you will require all rescue facilities to post a digital image of pets after a 48 hour period. This is of no cost to them and would be of huge benefit to both lost animals and their families. You would also require all pet owners to have microchips implanted. These are measures that would actually help return an animal to its family.
Lastly, to say that a reduced hold is of benefit to the animal is, frankly, absurd. Yes, being in the rescue facility would be traumatizing. But to think that being taken from there by anyone other than their family members would not just be another trauma, shows a lack of caring and understanding. As a person who has done rescue work, I have seen these poor animals go through these times of being passed off to a loving home. To them, all they understand is that it is not family.