WI SB 241 and AB 333

ALERT: WISCONSIN

Update 12/23/15: AB 333 public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, January 5 at 10:00 AM. If attending the hearing, please review the information at this link. www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/WI-Public-Hearing-Testify.pdf. Never be afraid to speak at a hearing. You are simply educating the legislators and letting them know they have been fed misinformation from the animal rights activists. REMEMBER, you are a tax-payer and you are paying the salaries of these legislators. It is their job to listen to your statements. BE PROFESSIONAL and CIVIL!

Update: SB 241 public hearing scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 1 at 12:30. If attending the hearing, please review the information at this link. www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/WI-Public-Hearing-Testify.pdf. Never be afraid to speak at a hearing. You are simply educating the legislators and letting them know they have been fed misinformation from the animal rights activists. REMEMBER, you are a tax-payer and you are paying the salaries of these legislators. It is their job to listen to your statements.

Update 9.10.15: A companion bill AB 333 has been introduced and referred to the Committee on Consumer Protection. Link to AB 333: www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/WI-2015-AB-333.pdf

Wisconsin introduced a Dangerous Wild Animal bill today (8/26/15), SB 241. It has been referred to Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety. This is the same bill we saw in 2014. More details coming soon.

View SB 241 text at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/WI-2015-SENATE-BILL-241.pdf. This bill makes changes to the laws relating to the possession of certain wild animals. It impacts these reptile species: Crocodylia: an alligator of any species, crocodile of any species, caiman of any species, or gharial.

When contacting legislators, you must remain professional and civil at all times! Acting otherwise only hurts our cause and will encourage legislators to pass these bills.

Full list of prohibited species:

"Dangerous exotic animal" means a live animal that is any of the following:

1. One of the following animals of the family felidae: a lion, tiger, jaguar,
leopard, snow leopard, clouded leopard, Sunda clouded leopard, or cheetah or a hybrid of any of these species.
2. One of the following animals of the family ursidae: an Asiatic black bear, brown bear, polar bear, sloth bear, sun bear, giant panda bear, or spectacled bear or a hybrid of any of these species.
3. One of the following animals of the family hominidae: a gorilla, orangutan, chimpanzee, or bonobo.
4. One of the following animals of the family hylobatidae: a siamang or gibbon.
5. One of the following animals of the order crocodylia: an alligator of any
species, crocodile of any species, caiman of any species, or gharial.

Also, Ursus americanus shall be classified as a "harmful wild animal."

How to Help: Send emails (sample letter and Talking Points below) and call the sponsors, co-sponsors and Committee members below and express your concerns. It is by far best to send individual emails, but you can copy and paste all email addresses below for a mass email.

It is best to personalize the email with your own thoughts and incorporate some of the Talking Points. Full contact information (phone, mailing address, etc.) can be found at this link by simply clicking on the legislators name at the bottom of the page in the "History" section following "8/26/2015 Sen.": www.docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/sb241

Email list for SB 241: Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety

Valirie.Maxim@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.Wanggaard@legis.wisconsin.govSen.Vukmir@legis.wisconsin.gov,

Sen.Lasee@legis.wisconsin.govSen.Risser@legis.wisconsin.govSen.Taylor@legis.wisconsin.gov

Complete Email list of committee members and sponsors:

Sen.Wanggaard@legis.wisconsin.govSen.Vukmir@legis.wisconsin.govSen.Lasee@legis.wisconsin.gov
Sen.Risser@legis.wisconsin.govSen.Taylor@legis.wisconsin.govSen.Larson@legis.wisconsin.gov
Sen.Lassa@legis.wisconsin.govSen.Miller@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Kerkman@legis.wisconsin.gov
Rep.Edming@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Spiros@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Kremer@legis.wisconsin.gov
Rep.Stuck@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Subeck@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Novak@legis.wisconsin.gov
Rep.Sinicki@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Spreitzer@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Thiesfeldt@legis.wisconsin.gov
Rep.Murphy@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Ohnstad@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Ott@legis.wisconsin.gov
Rep.Kitchens@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Hintz@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Genrich@legis.wisconsin.gov,

Rep.Heaton@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Katsma@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Neylon@legis.wisconsin.gov,

Rep.Nerison@legis.wisconsin.govRep.VanderMeer@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Pope@legis.wisconsin.gov,

Rep.Youngl@legis.wisconsin.govRep.Krug@legis.wisconsin.gov

Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety Contacts:

-Van H. Wangaard (Chair):
(608) 266-1832
(866) 615-7510
Room 319 South, State Capitol
Sen.Wanggaard@legis.wisconsin.gov

-Leah Vukmir (Vice Chair):
(414) 453-0024
District-(608) 266-2512
Room 131 South, State Capitol
Sen.Vukmir@legis.wisconsin.gov

-Frank G. Lasee
(608) 266-3512
Room 316 South, State Capitol
Sen.Lasee@legis.wisconsin.gov

-Fred A. Risser
(608) 266-1627
District-(608) 238-5008
Room 130 South, State Capitol
Sen.Risser@legis.wisconsin.gov

-Lena C. Taylor
(608) 266-5810
District-(414) 342-7176
Room 19 South, State Capitol
Sen.Taylor@legis.wisconsin.gov

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sample Email Subject Lines

  • Opposed to SB 241 and AB 333
  • Regarding SB 241 and AB 333
  • SB 241 and AB 333 are overreaching
  • AB 333 and SB 241 do not protect the public
  • AB 333 and SB 241 may be bad for animals
  • SB 241 and AB 333 may cause public safety issues

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sample Letter

Dear Wisconsin Legislator,

I write today to oppose SB 241 and AB 333, as introduced. However, I would support this bill with minimal changes, though I do feel since most municipalities already have ordinances in place, this is a waste of tax-payer money. I only ask that an additional amendment would allow private keepers willing to meet caging and care standards the opportunity to keep these species through a practical permit system. By allowing qualified private keepers to have these animals in the future, it will resolve any issues with finding permanent homes for any abandoned, surrendered or rescued animals.

While I understand your concerns over public safety, the exotic and reptile pet communities have evolved greatly and pet owners are much more responsible and educated. Unfortunately, as with any type of pet, including dogs and cats, there are a few irresponsible owners that give black eyes to the entire animal keeping community. Punishing all owners due to the few bad owners is collective punishment and is extreme overreach.

The species listed should certainly be considered captive wildlife rather than pets. Very few people are qualified or able to properly care for these animals, but these owners do exist. A simple permit and qualification program including a cage inspection would alleviate any fears of bad keepers. Wisconsin already has a permit system for keeping native wild animals. This permit process could be adopted by municipalities, since the intent of the bill is to remove authority for the Wisconsin DNR.

I applaud your efforts to protect animal welfare, but this bill doesn't protect these animals. With the initiation of the mentioned permit process, animal welfare would certainly be protected and properly addressed. Animal cruelty should definitely be confronted and abusers prosecuted, but banning and over-regulating animal ownership are not effective means to handle this concern. In fact, they often make matters worse, as we have seen in other states that have passed overbearing laws.

Animal ownership is a matter of personal responsibility and not government overreach. Bans simply are not the answer and have proven time and time again to cause more problems than they could ever solve, especially when addressing a public safety risk that doesn't exist. Please take time to protect both animal welfare and responsible Wisconsin animal owners. I implore you to consider my suggestions for SB 241 and AB 333 so I can fully support this bill.

Sincerely,

Your name, address, contact info, etc.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Talking Points

  1. The "Milwaukee lion" which instigated this knee-jerk legislation, has been shown to be a domestic cat. Basing legislation on a farce is not good practice, and certainly doesn't look good for legislators.
  2. Stakeholders must be involved in the legislative process rather than rushing a bill through.
  3. There are no legitimate statistics to support exotic animals and reptiles being public safety risks.
  4. Please work with stakeholders and those who responsibly keep exotic animals to develop a true animal welfare law rather than an overreaching ban.
  5. This bill is authored and supported by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments passed a resolution in the summer of 2015 calling upon 11 states, including Wisconsin, to investigate HSUS for fraudulence. This should give legislators pause regarding the agenda behind this bill. Oklahoma is already investing HSUS.
  6. Most municipalities already have ordinances regarding exotic animals and the State does not need to pass a bill giving them authority to do so.
  7. States that have passed similar bills recently are now seeing the mistakes made and problems created to protect the public and environment when they were never really threatened.
  8. By forcing municipalities to regulate these animals, this bill places financial burdens upon them by requiring them to administer and fund the new regulations without state assistance.
  9. No valid reasoning, science or data to support adding additional species to the prohibited list.
  10. There is concern that this bill will open the door for anti-pet groups to propose amendments which will affect additional responsible animal and pet owners.
  11. By allowing qualified private keepers to have these animals in the future, it will resolve any issues with finding permanent homes for any abandoned, surrendered or rescued animals.
  12. The species listed should certainly be considered captive wildlife rather than pets. Very few people are qualified or able to properly care for these animals, but these owners do exist. A complete ban is not the answer.

Article written by USARK