Shiloh's Law - What's Next
Published March 2012 in Action Magazine
Last month I may have went into a little too much detail about the current Wisconsin animal welfare laws and it may not have been riveting reading material. Over this past month I have contacted our local State Representatives and Congressmen to request their support and am awaiting their response on the next step in this journey. I have written a rough draft of what I believe
Shiloh's Law should include and wanted to share it with all of you:
Mistreatment of Animals to read as "Mistreatment of and Cruelty to Animals":
A person commits an offense if he wantonly or cruelly mistreats, overloads, beats, maims, torments, starves, intentionally poisons, otherwise abuses any animal, or neglects any animal as to which he has a duty of care, whether belonging to himself or otherwise, or abandons any animal, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, drink, shelter or veterinary care, or access to clean and sanitary shelter which protects the animal against inclement weather and preserves the animal's body heat and keeps it dry.
Add the following sections:
A. Owner's Duties
Each owner shall provide for each of his/her animals: (a) sufficient quantity of good quality, wholesome food and water; (b) adequate shelter and protection from the weather; (c) veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering; and (d) humane care and treatment.
B. Impounding Animals
When a humane officer, law enforcement officer or a veterinarian finds that a violation of this Act has rendered an animal in such a condition that no remedy or corrective action by the owner is possible or the violator fails or refuses to take corrective action necessary for compliance, the animal may be impounded in a facility which will provide the elements of good care as set forth in section A of this Law, where such animals shall be examined by a licensed veterinarian.
In addition to any other penalty provided by law, the authority imposing sentence upon a conviction for any violation of this section may order the forfeiture or surrender of any abused, neglected or deprived animal of the defendant to a humane officer or society or the county or municipal pound or to a law enforcement officer.
D. Prohibition of Ownership
Notwithstanding any provision of law and in addition to any other penalty provided by law, the authority imposing sentence upon a conviction for any violation of this section may order the prohibition or limitation of the defendant's ownership, possession, control or custody of animals or employment with the care of animals for a period of time not to exceed the maximum term of imprisonment applicable to the offense for which sentence is being imposed.
E. Confinement of Animals in Motor Vehicles
No owner or person shall confine any animal in a motor vehicle in such a manner that places it in a life or health threatening situation by exposure to a prolonged period of extreme heat or cold, without proper ventilation or other protection from such heat or cold. In order to protect the health and safety of an animal, an animal control officer or law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that this Section is being violated shall have authority to enter such motor vehicle by any reasonable means under the circumstances after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or person.
I also think the penalties for persons violating these laws need to be a bit more stringent. In researching several other states' laws, I found
Pennsylvania's provision to be exemplary - it reads as follows:
"Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this paragraph shall be sentenced to a pay a fine of not less than $1,000 or to imprisonment for not more than two years, or both. The court may also order a presentence mental evaluation. A subsequent conviction under this paragraph shall be a felony of the third degree. This paragraph shall apply to dogs and cats only."
There are many people in our community passionate about animal welfare and many have shared with me stories of why this topic is so important to them. Hearing their stories has broken my heart time and again; I have cried with each of them and have been angered all over again at the senseless cruelty and neglect these defenseless animals continue to endure. We need everyone's support to make a difference. I encourage anyone who has other thoughts, ideas or legislative connections to contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Next month I hope to have more information from our local legislators on the next step on this journey.
"If only we can overcome cruelty, to human and animal, with love and compassion we shall stand at the threshold of a new era in human moral and spiritual evolution - and realize, at last, our most unique quality: humanity." - Jane Goodall