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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    December 01, 2011

    Enhancing Animal Welfare Laws

    2009 Wisconsin Act 90 bolsters Wisconsin's animal abuse and neglect laws by requiring dog breeders, animal shelters, rescues, and others involved in the care and custody of animals to obtain a license and meet state guidelines on animal treatment.

    Joseph E. Goode & Aaron H. Aizenberg

    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 84, No. 12, December 2011

    animal welfare

    Nearly one century ago, Mohandas Gandhi said that the “greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”1 On Dec. 1, 2009, Gov. Jim Doyle signed 2009 Wisconsin Act 90 into law, and Wisconsin joined a growing number of states that have established animal-welfare standards for dog breeders, animal shelters, and animal-control facilities. On June 1, 2011, pursuant to Act 90, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) implemented licensing and regulatory rules in chapter ATCP 16.

    Act 90 supplements Wisconsin’s current animal-welfare laws and gives law enforcement officers, humane officers, and state regulators an additional tool to monitor animal cruelty in Wisconsin. It is intended to ensure humane conditions for dogs and protect Wisconsin consumers and animals from disreputable, substandard animal care by establishing minimum standards for people who sell and breed dogs, operate animal shelters or similar facilities, or run animal-rescue groups.

    This article summarizes the current statutes in Wis. Stat. chapter 951 governing animal abuse and neglect; reviews Act 90 and the concomitant regulations found in chapter ATCP 16; and explains how animal seizures work under Wis. Stat. chapter 173. It is intended to give attorneys a greater appreciation of the rules affecting their clients now that Act 90 is in effect and help them understand the rights and obligations of the affected constituencies.

    Chapter 951 Standards

    Any discussion of animal abuse and neglect in Wisconsin necessarily begins with Wis. Stat. chapter 951 – a set of statutes with roots dating back to 1849. The law broadly applies to all “animals” in Wisconsin2 while acknowledging other laws regulating wild animals and the slaughtering of animals by persons acting under state or federal law.3 “Farm animals” are exempted from certain aspects of the law’s reach.4

    Apart from these narrow qualifications, Wis. Stat. section 951.01(2) prohibits individuals from “causing unnecessary and excessive pain or suffering or unjustifiable injury or death” to an animal. Thus, “[n]o person may treat any animal, whether belonging to the person or another, in a cruel manner.”5 The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has ruled that a conviction does not necessarily require proof of intent or negligence, concluding that the applicable statute contains no words indicative of the element of intent and therefore that “the intent of the wrongdoer is no longer a controlling factor.”6 Depending on the nature and extent of the violation, penalties range from those for Class C forfeitures to those for felony convictions.7

    In addition to the farm-animal exception, chapter 951 also does not apply to 1) teaching, research, or experimentation conducted by educational or research institutions at federally regulated facilities; and 2) bona fide scientific research involving species unregulated by federal law.8 While the legislature has imposed limits such as these in chapter 951, such exceptions are narrow. For example, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals held in 2011 that two individuals charged with felonies under Wis. Stat. section 951.02 for killing five deer using their snowmobiles as weapons could not avoid liability on the basis that the animals victimized were “wild animals” concurrently regulated by Wisconsin’s deer-hunting statute.9

    Wisconsin also makes it a felony to participate in animal fighting. Thus, “[n]o person may intentionally instigate, promote, aid or abet as a principal, agent or employee, or participate in the earnings from, or intentionally maintain or allow any place to be used for a cockfight, dog fight, bullfight or other fight between the same or different kinds of animals or between an animal and a person.”10 Although the statute exempts “events or exhibitions commonly featured at rodeos or bloodless bullfights,” it specifically outlaws the possession, keeping, or training of “any animal with the intent that the animal be engaged in an exhibition of fighting.”11 Wisconsin Statutes section 951.08(3) further prohibits anyone from intentionally being a spectator at an animal fight.

    By its plain language, chapter 951 applies to owners and third parties that tend to animals, including animal shelters, dog breeders, pet stores, and other such facilities. Even nonowners are governed by these obligations if they are harboring or providing custody to an animal. At least in the context of dogs, the case law suggests that one who “keeps” or “harbors” an animal (even if the person is not the owner) has legal duties in relation to the animal when it is under one’s care.12

    Chapter 951 also prohibits abandoning animals and sets minimum, commonsense care standards for food, drink, shelter, space, and sanitation. Food and water must be provided in sufficient quantities to maintain the animal in good health.13 When keeping an animal indoors, the temperature must be maintained at a degree “compatible with the health of the animal,” and adequate ventilation must be provided “by natural or artificial means to provide for the health of the animals at all times.”14 Owners and persons and entities caring for animals maintained outside (excluding farm animals) must ensure that the animal has sufficient natural or artificial shelter from sunlight and appropriate shelter to avoid the effects of “inclement weather.”15 Indoor or outdoor shelters must be not only “structurally sound and maintained in good repair” but also “constructed and maintained so as to provide sufficient space to allow each animal adequate freedom of movement.” Finally, owners and persons and entities maintaining custody of animals must provide sanitary enclosures to ensure the periodic cleaning of excreta and other waste.16

    Act 90 and ATCP 16 Protections

    Before Act 90 was enacted, there were no Wisconsin statutes specifically regulating people who sell dogs, operate animal shelters, and run animal-rescue groups, except for the general animal-cruelty laws outlined above. Act 90 imposes specific statutory minimum standards of care intended to better protect Wisconsin consumers and animals. To assist in writing rules and regulations for implementing and administering the law, an advisory committee was formed, made up of representatives from retail animal sellers, dog breeders, humane societies, veterinarians, animal-control facilities, breed-rescue groups, and sporting associations involving dogs. Those regulations, which implement Act 90, are found in chapter ATCP 16.17

    Licensing program. Act 90 generally establishes a licensing program for entities engaged in breeding, selling, and caring for animals. Licenses are required for the following activities:

    1) operating an animal shelter (a facility operated to provide and promote the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals; used to shelter at least 25 dogs in a year; and operated by a humane society, animal-welfare society, animal-rescue group, or other nonprofit group);

    2) operating an animal control facility (a facility for the care of animals operated under a contract with a political subdivision);

    3) operating as a dog breeder (a person who sells, in a year, 25 or more dogs that the person has bred and raised, except that a person is not a dog breeder under the statute if all the dogs come from no more than three litters);

    4) operating a dog breeding facility (a place at which dogs are bred and raised and from which 25 or more dogs are sold in a year, except a place is not a dog-breeding facility under the statute if all the dogs come from no more than three litters);

    5) operating as a dog dealer (a person, other than an out-of-state dog dealer, who in one year sells, distributes, trades, or offers for sale, distribution, or trade 25 or more dogs that the person has not bred and raised or who operates an auction at which 50 or more dogs are sold or offered for sale in one year); or

    6) operating as an out-of-state dog dealer (a nonresident of Wisconsin who brings 25 or more dogs into Wisconsin for sale in a year).18

    Health standards. Provisions are included in Act 90 to ensure, for the first time, that dogs sold in Wisconsin meet certain minimum health standards. For example, a seller cannot transfer a dog to a purchaser until the dog is at least seven weeks old.19 Also, sellers must provide purchasers with a certificate of veterinary inspection and a copy of all vaccination records before or with the sale of any dog, and dogs that have not been spayed or neutered may not be sold at auction unless written proof is provided that the dog has tested negative for brucellosis no more than 30 days before the day of the sale.20

    Care requirements. Additionally, Act 90 and chapter ATCP 16 enhance the general standard-of-care requirements found in chapter 951. Dogs must be fed at least once a day and have access to water sufficient to keep them well hydrated at all times.21 All necessary veterinary care must be administered, and dogs should be handled humanely so as not to cause physical harm or unnecessary injury.22 Caretakers should perform daily body, mobility, and behavior checks; physically separate dogs that have, or are suspected to have, a communicable disease; and groom as necessary to prevent abnormalities and allow freedom of movement and normal bodily functions.23 Veterinarians must examine dogs as often as necessary to ensure adequate health, and use appropriate methods to prevent, control, diagnose, and treat diseases and injuries. Licensees are required to follow veterinary recommendations.24

    Act 90 also imposes standards for the conditions under which dogs must be kept and cared for. Dogs must not be kept enclosed unless the enclosure is of an appropriate size, is structurally sound to protect the dog from injury, and is maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.25 Even then, dogs are not to be kept in enclosures for excessive periods of time.26 Dogs may be kept outdoors only if their breed typically is kept outdoors, they are acclimated to the outdoors, and adequate shelter from the sun and inclement weather is provided.27 All facilities in which dogs are kept must have adequate lighting, ventilation, and temperature control.28 Regardless of where they are kept, dogs must be provided exercise and be observed daily by the caretaker of the premises so that care can be provided as needed.29

    Enforcement. The DATCP is charged with enforcing Act 90 and its accompanying regulations. It may deny, refuse to renew, or revoke any license issued if the applicant or licensee 1) is not fit, qualified, or equipped to conduct the activity for which the license is required; 2) has failed to obey any applicable law, order, or regulation; or 3) has misrepresented or intentionally failed to disclose a material fact in applying for the license. The DATCP may also issue a conditional license, which becomes void if the licensee does not timely meet certain conditions.30

    Before issuing a license, the DATCP must inspect the applicant’s premises, and if a license is issued, the DATCP must continue to inspect the premises at least once every two years.31 If the DATCP finds any condition that imminently threatens the health, safety, or welfare of any animal on the premises, or there is evidence that animal cruelty has occurred, the DATCP may suspend a license and specify conditions to be met for reinstatement.32 A licensee may also request a hearing to contest a suspension, by writing to the DATCP within 10 days of receiving notice of the suspension.33

    Penalties. The penalties for a violation under Act 90 are broad and severe. A person who violates the statutes by operating without a license may be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to nine months, or both. A licensee who violates the statutes or regulations may be required to pay a fine of up to $1,000 for the first offense and not less than $200 or more than $2,000 for any subsequent offense within five years.34 If the violation involves the keeping of animals, each animal with respect to which the statute or rule is violated constitutes a separate violation.35 In addition to these penalties, a court may order a person who violates this section to pay the expenses of caring for dogs that are removed from the person’s possession because of mistreatment (costs that are likely to be substantial).36

    The passage and implementation of Act 90 is a significant step toward curtailing abuse and neglect in Wisconsin’s animal population. Compared to the general requirements found in chapter 951, Act 90 provides substantially more specific regulations, licensing requirements, and minimum standards of care that all persons and organizations in the “business” of caring, breeding, and selling dogs must follow. It also provides stiffer penalties for violations, which will likely enhance the already-established deterrents set forth in chapter 95. Attorneys should note, though, that the Wisconsin Legislature is already considering the introduction of legislation that would curtail certain aspects of Act 90 and ATCP 16. For example, part of the contemplated legislation would change applicability of the licensing requirements, leaving immune from the regulations persons handling 100 or fewer (compared to the current 25 or fewer) dogs in a year. Although the proposed amendments have not gained traction, attorneys should periodically check for developments.

    Chapter 173 and the Seizure of Mistreated Animals

    Chapter 173 of the Wisconsin Statutes governs the certification, appointment, and duties of humane officers; sets the ground rules for the seizure and impoundment of animals by humane and law enforcement officers; provides a framework for the custodial care of impounded animals; and establishes legal procedures for the disposition of seized and “unclaimed” animals. Despite a long tradition of humans living with companion animals, the common law in Wisconsin and elsewhere nevertheless categorizes animals as property.37 The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects against the unlawful seizure of an individual’s possessory interest in property without due process of law.38 By extension, chapter 173 provides due-process procedures for handling animals taken into custody (for both when the owner is known and when the owner is not known) – the due process necessary to enable society to manage its animal population and respect the property rights of animal owners.

    Chapter 173 authorizes political subdivisions in Wisconsin to “provide for the care, treatment or disposal” of animals or otherwise contract with a person to provide such services.39 Wisconsin municipalities approach this issue in varying ways. For example, Dane County contracts with the privately run Dane County Humane Society, and the municipalities making up Milwaukee County created the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission. Chapter 173 further authorizes political subdivisions to train and appoint humane officers to assist in implementing the duties bestowed on them under the statute. Humane officers are appointed by the governing body of the political subdivision, must undergo certification procedures, and have limited powers, including conducting investigations of suspected violations of certain statutes or ordinances.40 With the recent adoption of Act 90, humane and law enforcement officers are further authorized to enforce the rules governing commercial dog breeders, animal shelters, and animal-control facilities in Wisconsin.

    Wisconsin Statutes section 173.13(1)(a) gives to humane officers, political subdivisions in which a humane officer has jurisdiction, and law enforcement officers on behalf of political subdivisions the ability to take custody of certain kinds of animals: stray or abandoned animals; unwanted animals delivered to a humane or law enforcement officer; untagged dogs; unlicensed animals; animals not confined as required by quarantine order; animals that have caused damage to persons or property; participants in fights; mistreated animals; and animals delivered by veterinarians.41

    Abatement orders. One powerful tool under the statute gives humane and law enforcement officers the power to issue abatement orders if they have “reasonable grounds to believe” that at least one of the statutes and ordinances identified above is being violated.42 Any local political subdivision authorizing the issuance of abatement orders must provide for review of such orders. Specifically, the statute provides that any person issued an abatement order may, within 10 days after issuance of the order, request a hearing, to be conducted by the body designated under local ordinance to review such orders. The body must conduct a hearing within 10 days of the request and issue a decision affirming, modifying, or reversing the abatement order.43 The statute provides for judicial review within 30 days of issuance of any such decision.44 These due-process considerations are designed to balance the state’s need to regulate animal cruelty with due-process interests of animal owners.

    Joseph S. Goode Aaron H. Aizenberg

    Joseph S. Goode, Syracuse 1994, and Aaron H. Aizenberg, Iowa 2007, are with Kravit, Hovel & Krawczyk S.C., Milwaukee. They represent animal shelters statewide and have litigated several large-scale animal seizure cases, where their work has included coordinating efforts with private shelters, municipalities, and law enforcement agencies.

    Seizure rules. If the abatement process does not result in compliance with Wisconsin’s animal-welfare laws, chapter 173 authorizes the seizure of the animal subject to mistreatment.45 After seizure, a political subdivision (or a person contracting with a political subdivision) may, pursuant to statute, withhold such an animal from the owner if there are “reasonable grounds to believe” one or more of the following: 1) the owner has mistreated the animal in violation of chapter 951; 2) the animal poses a significant threat to public health, safety, or welfare; 3) the animal may be used as evidence in a pending prosecution; or 4) a court has ordered the animal withheld for any reason.46

    While not defined in the statute, the “reasonable grounds” standard might be less onerous than a showing of probable cause – at least according to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.47 Nevertheless, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Mahnke v. Garrigan recently equated this standard with probable cause under the Fourth Amendment.48 This debate aside, one thing is certain: the standard for animal seizures in Wisconsin is far lower than the preponderance-of-evidence and clear-and-convincing standards used in most civil proceedings and the reasonable-doubt standard used in criminal cases.49

    If humane or law enforcement officers seize an animal, they must provide the owner with notice of the owner’s right to petition a court for return of the animal.50 The judicial review procedures are in Wis. Stat. section 173.22, which provides the owner with the ability to petition the circuit court for the county in which the animal was seized for an order authorizing the animal’s return. After providing notice to the humane or law enforcement officer responsible for the seizure (and assuming the matter is contested), the circuit court typically holds a hearing on the issue of whether the animal was improperly seized. The legal standards for making this determination are outlined in Wis. Stat. section 173.22(3). For example, if the circuit court finds reasonable grounds to believe that an animal has been mistreated under chapter 951 or that the animal is evidence in a pending prosecution, the court will not order the animal be returned. To the contrary, if the animal was improperly seized, the circuit court must order the animal to be released.

    Most seizure cases are litigated over the issue of whether a seized animal is being held for cause under Wis. Stat. section 173.21(1). This is typically in the context of large-scale seizures involving numerous animals in which the stakes are high for the owner, the political subdivision, and the shelters contracting with political subdivisions to provide custodial care of impounded animals. In 2006, for example, Dane County and the Dane County Humane Society were involved in a case in which 54 pit bulls were seized from a town of Dunn resident who was accused of using the dogs in a fighting operation.51 In 2008, Richland County seized 242 animals from a property, and the owner ultimately was tried for numerous violations of chapter 951.52 In another recent case, Adams County and the Adams County Humane Society litigated with a married couple about the propriety of a seizure of nearly 200 animals from their home.53 These cases illustrate the costs associated with animal control and how multiple constituencies are affected when animals are seized.

    Disposition of seized animals. The current statutory regime also enables a political subdivision to petition the circuit court to seek interim and final relief concerning the disposition of seized animals. Such litigation often concerns the costs of providing custodial care and treatment for the seized animals while they are impounded. These costs, depending on how long it takes the authorities and the courts to litigate the seizure or the underlying criminal allegations, could be extensive. The situation is particularly complex when the same animals are subject to concurrent criminal and civil proceedings, requiring judicial resolutions that balance the aims of Wisconsin’s criminal laws with the civil interests underlying the animal-seizure statute. A large-scale animal seizure can wreak havoc on public budgets and on shelters or other animal-control facilities contracting with political subdivisions. For this reason, Wis. Stat. section 173.23(3)(a) empowers political subdivisions to ask a circuit court “for payment for the custody, care or treatment of the animal” or to require “the owner of the animal to post bond for the costs of custody, care or treatment of the animal pending the outcome of any other proceeding.”54

    Ultimately, the facts will control whether a circuit court allows recovery of costs on an interim basis. Some courts have struggled with the concept of penalizing owners not yet found guilty of violating animal-welfare laws by requiring them to pay a political subdivision for the “privilege” of housing animals that the owners contend have been improperly seized.55 Even if the circuit court rejects interim efforts to have the owner pay for custodial costs of care, the statute nevertheless requires the court to ultimately “assess the expenses” associated with any search conducted pursuant to Wis. Stat. section 173.10 (“Investigation of cruelty complaints”) in which a violation of chapter 951 has occurred. This includes investigative and veterinary medical expenses and expenses associated with taking the animal into custody and keeping it there.56 If the person alleged to have violated chapter 951 is found guilty, the court must order the person to pay those expenses. If the person is not found guilty, the general fund of the county must pay the expenses.57


    Wisconsin has a long tradition of providing reasonable measures to protect its animal population. That tradition balances societal needs and interests with a baseline of normative values for how individuals should act when provided with custodial obligations over an animal. The statutes addressed in this article provide state and local regulators, law enforcement personnel, and humane officers with various tools to regulate animal cruelty in this state. Political subdivisions must be aware of the costs associated with animal seizures and make contingency plans for the occurrence of large-scale seizures, theoretically more likely since the passage of Act 90. Although enhanced vigilance on behalf of Wisconsin’s animal population undoubtedly comes at an economic cost, vigorous enforcement of these laws enhances what Gandhi labeled human beings’ “greatness” and “moral progress.”58

    Endnotes, Mahatma Gandhi quotes, (last visited Aug. 17, 2011).

    2Wis. Stat. § 951.01(1)(a), (b), (c).

    3Wis. Stat. § 951.015(1).

    4Wis. Stat. § 951.01(3). See, e.g., Wis. Stat. § 951.14 (setting forth standard for “proper shelter” of animals in Wisconsin but limiting such standard for “farm animals” to nothing “more stringent than normally accepted husbandry practices in the particular county where the animal or shelter is located”).

    5Wis. Stat. § 951.01(2).

    6See State v. Stanfield, 105 Wis. 2d 553, 558-61, 314 N.W. 2d 339 (1982), overruled on other grounds. But cf. State v. Poellinger, 153 Wis. 2d 493, 504-05, 451 N.W. 2d 752 (1990); State v. Olson, 175 Wis. 2d 628, 639, 498 N.W.2d 661 (1993).

    7See generally Wis. Stat. § 951.18. The civil and criminal penalties provided for in chapter 951 intentionally are different. Thus, for example, a first-time violation of Wis. Stat. section 951.02 (“Mistreating animals”) may be subject only to a Class C forfeiture. See Wis. Stat. § 951.18(1). However, an individual who mistreats an animal within three years of receiving an abatement order from a humane officer can be penalized with a Class A forfeiture. The penalties are further enhanced if the mistreatment is deemed intentional or negligent; in those instances, the defendant faces a misdemeanor charge. Similarly, persons who engage in certain aspects of animal fighting under Wis. Stat. section 951.08 or engage in the “mutilation, disfigurement or death of an animal” face Class I felony charges.

    8Wis. Stat. § 951.015(3)(a)-(b).

    9State v. Kuenzi, 2011 WI App 30, 332 Wis. 2d 297, 796 N.W.2d 222.

    10Wis. Stat. § 951.08(1).

    11Wis. Stat. § 951.08(2).

    12See, e.g., Pawlowski v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., 2009 WI 105, 322 Wis. 2d 21, 777 N.W.2d 67; but see Pattermann v. Pattermann, 173 Wis. 2d 143, 496 N.W.2d 613 (Ct. App. 1992) (placing limits on what it means to own or harbor a dog).

    13Wis. Stat. § 951.13(1)-(2).

    14Wis. Stat. § 951.14(1)(a), (b).

    15Wis. Stat. § 951.14(2).

    16Wis. Stat. § 951.14(3), (4).

    17Wis. Stat. § 173.41(14)(a), (b).

    18Wis. Stat. § 173.41(1)(a)-(f).

    19Wis. Stat. § 173.41(9).

    20Wis. Stat. § 173.41(8)(a)(1)-(2), (b).

    21Wis. Stat. § 173.41(10)(a)-(b); Wis. Admin. Code § ATCP 16.20(1).

    22Wis. Stat. § 173.41(10)(c); Wis. Admin. Code § ATCP 16.20(2)(a).

    23Wis. Admin. Code § ATCP 16.20(2)(b)-(d).

    24Wis. Admin. Code § ATCP 16.20(2)(e).

    25Wis. Stat. § 173.41(10)(d); Wis. Admin. Code § ATCP 16.22.

    26Wis. Stat. § 173.41(10)(e); Wis. Admin. Code § ATCP 16.22.

    27Wis. Stat. § 173.41(10)(f); Wis. Admin. Code § ATCP 16.24.

    28Wis. Stat. § 173.41(10)(g); Wis. Admin. Code §§ ATCP 16.22-.24.

    29Wis. Stat. § 173.41(10)(h)-(i); Wis. Admin. Code §§ ATCP 16.22-.24.

    30Wis. Stat. § 173.41(4)(a), (b).

    31Wis. Stat. § 173.41(6)(a).

    32Wis. Stat. § 173.41(5)(a)-(b).

    33Wis. Stat. § 173.41(5)(c), (d).

    34Wis. Stat. § 173.41(15)(a), (b)(1).

    35Wis. Stat. § 173.41(15)(b)(2).

    36Wis. Stat. § 173.41(15)(c).

    37See Rabideau v. Racine, 2001 WI 57, ¶¶ 3-5, 243 Wis. 2d 486, 627 N.W.2d 795; see also Campbell v. Animal Quarantine Station, 632 P.2d 1066, 1071 n.5 (Haw. 1981) (“The law clearly views a dog as personal property.”); Steven M. Wise, Recovery of Common Law Damages for Emotional Distress, Loss of Society, and Loss of Companionship for the Wrongful Death of a Companion Animal, 4 Animal L. 33, 69-70 (1998); In Defense of Floyd: Appropriately Valuing Companion Animals in Tort, 70 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1059, 1064 (1995).

    38Lee v. City of Chicago, 330 F.3d 456, 460 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing Soldal v. Cook Cnty., 506 U.S. 56, 61 (1992)).

    39Wis. Stat. § 173.15(1).

    40Wis. Stat. §§ 173.03, 173.05.

    41Wis. Stat. § 173.13(1)(a)-(c).

    42Wis. Stat. § 173.11(1).

    43Wis. Stat. § 173.11(2), (3).

    44Wis. Stat. § 173.11(4).

    45Wis. Stat. § 173.13(1)(a).

    46Wis. Stat. § 173.21(1).

    47State v. Griffin, 131 Wis. 2d 41, 59, 388 N.W.2d 535 (1986) (holding that search may be constitutionally made based on a standard of reasonableness, which is less than probable cause), aff’d, 483 U.S. 868, 872, 880 (1987) (upholding constitutionality of reasonable-grounds standard on search and seizure).

    48Mahnke v. Garrigan, No. 10-2783, 2011 WL 1395550, at *2 (7th Cir. April 13, 2011) (citing Johnson v. State, 75 Wis. 2d. 344, 346-50, 249 N.W.2d 593 (1977)).

    49Cf. Mahnke v. Columbia Cnty., No. 2006AP1771, 2007 WL 1300731 (Wis. Ct. App. May 3, 2007) (unpublished) (accepting parties’ stipulation that “reasonable grounds” is akin to probable-cause standard).

    50Wis. Stat. § 173.13(3)(a), (b).

    51State v. Lowery, Dane County Case No. 06-CF-2833; Lowery v. Dane County Humane Society, Dane County Case No. 06-CV-2445.

    52State v. Petkus, Richland County Case No. 09-CM-82.

    53Adams County Humane Soc’y v. Kolb, No. 09-CV-454.

    54A political subdivision is also authorized to request an order allowing for the sale, humane destruction, or other disposal of the animal. See Wis. Stat. § 173.23(3)(a)3.

    55See, e.g., Louisville Kennel Club Inc. v. Louisville/Jefferson Cnty. Metro Gov’t, No. 3:07-CV-230-S, 2009 WL 3210690 (W.D. Ky. Oct. 2, 2009).

    56Wis. Stat. § 173.24(1), (2).

    57Wis. Stat. § 173.24(3)., supra note 1.

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