Adams County WI Action Alert

Next Meeting: There will be a Sauk County Department of Environment meeting in Baraboo, WI on Dec 19th at 12:30 pm to discuss the ordinance.
Adams County, Wisconsin and surrounding counties are developing a Dangerous Wild Animal (DWA) ordinance. Currently, this includes a ban on private ownership of most exotic (meaning non-traditional and/or non-domesticated) pets and livestock. There are reports that at least one County official is spreading the fear that Ebola and other diseases are easily contracted from primates, which caused this proposed ordinance.

The proposal was scheduled for the Health & Human Services Board's December 5th meeting, but it was tabled. Wisconsin residents, and especially those in Adams and surrounding counties, should follow the USARK Action Alert below and sign up for our free email newsletter (right side of page at

Sarah Grosshuesch (contact information below) is the Public Health Department contact overseeing the development of the ordinance for Adams County. The ordinance implemented in Adams County will likely be proposed for surrounding counties.

Wisconsin residents and those that can help should join the Facebook group below for immediate updates: 

Wisconsin DWA Legislation Opposition Group at
The species and entire taxa (taxonomic categories) below have been proposed for prohibition:
  1. Primates (except humans);
  2. Felids (except domestic cats and their hybrids);
  3. Canids (except domestic dogs);
  4. Prairie dogs;
  5. Elephants;
  6. Crocodilians;
  7. Marsupials (except Sugar gliders);
  8. Ungulates (except llamas and alpacas);
  9. Hyenas;
  10. Mustelids (except ferrets);
  11. Procyonids (raccoons, etc.);
  12. Dasypodidae (anteaters, sloths, etc.);
  13. Viverrids (genets, civets, etc.);
  14. Suidaes (except domestic pigs);
  15. Reptiles over 10 feet (large pythons, anacondas, monitors, etc.);
  16. Venomous reptiles (snakes and lizards).

Special thanks to Eric Roscoe from the Madison Area Herpetological Society (MAHS) for following and updating us on this issue.


1. Copy/paste these email addresses into your email:,,

2. Copy/paste one of these subject lines (can be edited slightly);

  1. NO to Exotic Animal Ban
  2. Regarding an Exotic Animal Ban
  3. Exotic Animal Ban is Not the Answer
  4. No to Bans and Fear-mongering
  5. Proposed Wild Animal Ban
  6. NO to Wild Animal Ban

3. Copy/paste this message (it's best to slightly edit/personalize) and include your full name;

Adams County Health & Human Services Board,

As a Wisconsin resident, I would like to voice my concern regarding a proposed exotic animal ban. The list of proposed animals will affect many residents and will have detrimental effects upon the animals. A ban, such as proposed, will lead to the unnecessary euthanization of longtime pets and farm animals. It will also end many educational opportunities involving these animals. Properly supervised educational outreach programs can have tremendously positive impacts upon students. 

Many species are being proposed due solely on the miniscule chance that someone could potentially attain a zoonotic (transferable from animal to human) disease. If diseases from these exotic animals were a serious threat to humans, there would be no exotic pets as everyone keeping them would have died from zoonotic diseases.

Quite simply, disease is possible from every animal (including dogs and cats), and even humans. As with interactions with humans, interactions with animals that are not followed by proper hygiene (i.e. hand washing) may lead to disease transmission. You cannot punish an entire population at the slim chance that irresponsible people do not practice proper hygiene.

It has been noted that at least one County official has circulated a concern of ebola and HIV transference from small primates. Again, there would be no one keeping primates, even rescues facilities and zoos, if this occurred as those people would be deceased.

Also, interactions with non-traditional hoofstock, big cats and large constrictor snakes may have the potential for injury, but that is accepted by the individuals interacting with them at private and accredited facilities. It is not a public safety risk. Just as someone riding or shoeing a horse may be injured, they are occupational or accepted risks.

Bans simply are not the answer and bans often lead to more problems than they attempt to resolve. This includes the euthanization of animals that were perfectly healthy but must now be killed as new homes for them cannot be found. As mentioned, a public safety risk is not a concern, especially since the public does not come into contact with animals kept by private owners.

If an ordinance is to be considered, input from citizens and alternatives to over-reaching bans should be at the forefront of discussions. States and municipalities across the country are actually amending bans with common sense legislation including animal welfare concerns, animal registration and/or minimum caging standards rather than over-restriction. It is very rare that officials are educated with the husbandry and welfare of these animals, so input from legitimate experts, educators, scientists and veterinarians should be used to write ordinances. Laws certainly should not be written due to fear-mongering based upon mistruths without peer-reviewed scientific backing.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to seeing a new approach taken should the Board feel a need for an ordinance. Have a good day.




Adams County Health & Human Services Board Contact Information

When calling, you can simply state that you are opposed to an exotic animal ban in Adams County and that such an ordinance is over-reaching. You can also read from the sample letter above and request officials to accept proposed common sense legislation presented by the reptile and exotic animal communities. 

Sarah Grosshuesch, Health Officer
108 E North Street
Friendship, WI 53934

Jack Allen: (608)339-7898

Lori DJumadi: (715)572-4746;

Robert Grabarski: (608)564-2729

Heidi Roekle: (608)547-1367;

Rocky Gilner: (608)254-5096;

Fran Dehmlow: 608-547-2894

Teresa Harvey-Beversdorf:

Mark Hatton:

Debra Johnson-Schuh: