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Wisconsin - South Milwaukee

Municipal Code, City of South Milwaukee, Chapter 23. Public Peace & Safety § 23.20 REGULATING VICIOUS DOGS.

Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 06/2012
Disclaimer: Due to the overwhelming number of cities and counties across the United States, the Animal Legal & Historical Center's collection reflects only a sample of all animal-related ordinances. Many ordinances are not complete sets and have been edited for a particular topic. If you do not see your city or county listed on the website, please refer to your local government’s website or try searching Municode or American Legal Publishing (http://www.amlegal.com/library/ and http://www.municode.com/Library). Please note that we update ordinances once a year, so the ordinances on this website may not be the most current version.
Statute Details
Printable Version

Citation: SOUTH MILWAUKEE, WI., MUNICIPAL CODE § 23.20 (1989)

Summary:  
In South Milwaukee, Wisconsin, it is illegal to harbor, keep or maintain any Pit Bull that was not registered and licensed by April 1, 1989, with exceptions for law enforcement and dogs being transported through the city. Any person who believes that another is keeping an unregistered Pit Bull shall file an affidavit with the Municipal Court Clerk. Owners of registered dogs permitted in the City shall provide a color photograph of the dog and proof of liability insurance of $100,000.  The owner of a Pit Bull who fails to comply with the requirements must remove the dog from the City.


Ordinance Text in Full:

23.20    REGULATING VICIOUS DOGS.  

Rep. & Recr. 03/17/89, 1427, amended 4/17/07, 1940

(1)        "Owner" as used in this ordinance means any person, firm, corporation, organization or department possessing, harboring or having the care or custody, whether temporarily or permanently, of a dog.

(2)        "Vicious Dog" as used in this ordinance means a dog which, at any time or times, bites or has bitten 2 or more people, or a "dangerous dog" which unprovoked, bites a person, or a dog which has caused a serious injury to a person or a dog which has been found to be a vicious or dangerous dog in any other community.   
               


(2.1)  "Serious Injury" as used in this ordinance means any physical injury to a person that results in a major fracture, muscle tears, disfiguring lacerations or wounds, or requires multiple sutures or corrective or cosmetic surgery.



(2.2)  "Unprovoked" as used in this ordinance means that the circumstances demonstrate that the dog was not, at the time of the incident, being teased, attacked, tormented, abused or assaulted by a person.

(3)        "Dangerous Dog" as used in this ordinance means any dogs which, unprovoked, causes an injury to a person less severe than those described in (2) above.     
                       

" Dangerous Dog" as used in this ordinance also means any dog which, while off its owner's premises, attacks and injures a domestic animal.  Amd. 1/17/08,1961

(4)        "Pit Bull" as used in this ordinance means:  Any Pit Bull Terrier, which shall be defined as any American Pit Bull Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dog, or any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of American Pit Bull Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier as to be identifiable as partially of the breed of American Pit Bull Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
 
(5)        "Animals Running at Large" as used in this ordinance means:  An animal shall be deemed  to be running at large when it is permitted to run off of the premises of the owner or keeper when it is 
not accompanied by a person having said animal under control on a leash.

(6)        "Untagged Animals" as used in this ordinance means:  An animal is considered to be untagged if a valid license tag is not attached to a collar which is kept on the animal.

(7)        Prohibitions.  No person shall harbor, keep or maintain within the City limits of the City of South Milwaukee any vicious dog.  Any dog alleged to be vicious by virtue of an attack upon a human being  shall be impounded as directed by the City of South Milwaukee Police Department until disposition of the charge issued by citation.  Moreover, the owner of any dog found to be vicious in the trial of a charge of harboring a vicious dog, or by plea to such a charge shall be prohibited from returning that dog to the City of South Milwaukee, and if impounded within the City limits of the City of South Milwaukee, shall remove the dog from the City immediately upon an adjudication that the dog is a vicious dog.

(8)

(A)       No person shall harbor, keep or maintain within the City limits of the City of South Milwaukee any Pit Bull which was not currently registered and licensed by the City of South Milwaukee on or before April 1, 1989.  This prohibition shall not be applied to animals being transported through the City limits of the City of South Milwaukee within a one-hour period of time and to dogs exempted under Sec. 174.005 and 174.006.        

(B)       A pup born to a female Pit Bull licensed and registered pursuant to paragraphs 8(A) and 13 hereof shall be removed from the City of South Milwaukee before the date on which it is required to be licensed pursuant to Chapter 174, Wis. Stats.

(9)        Any person having knowledge which he or she believes constitutes probable cause to believe that another is harboring, keeping or maintaining a Pit Bull which was not registered with and licensed by the City of South Milwaukee on or before April 1, 1989, in the City of South Milwaukee, shall file with the Municipal Court Clerk a sworn affidavit setting forth the basis on which they believe the animal to be a Pit Bull, the name and address of the owner of the dog, and a description of the dog.  The Clerk shall, upon receipt of such affidavit, inquire of the City Clerk:

(A)       If the dog was licensed on April 1, 1989; and

(B)       If the dog is currently registered as a Pit Bull pursuant to Paragraph 13 of this ordinance.  If the dog was not registered and licensed by the City of South Milwaukee on April 1, 1989, or is not currently registered pursuant to the provisions of Paragraph 13 of this ordinance, the Clerk shall schedule a hearing to determine if the dog is a Pit Bull.  The Clerk shall have notice of the hearing to the complainant and shall issue a Summons addressed to the owner of the alleged Pit Bull.  Any dog determined by the court after hearing to be a Pit Bull shall be impounded and the procedure outlined in Paragraph 22 hereof shall govern disposition of the dog.

(10)      Any person may petition the Municipal Court to declare a dog dangerous.  Upon receipt by the Municipal Court Clerk of the sworn affidavit of any person setting forth the nature and date of the act, the name and address of the owner and a description of the dog, the Municipal Court of the City of South Milwaukee shall schedule a hearing for the determination of dangerousness.  The Clerk shall give notice of the hearing to the complainant and issue a Summons addressed to the owner.  Any dog determined by the court to be dangerous pursuant to the above criteria, shall be subject to the restrictions for dangerous dogs in Paragraphs 13, 15, 16 and 17 hereof.

(11)      No person shall return to or harbor within the City limits of the City of South Milwaukee a dog previously determined by the Municipal Court to be a vicious dog or a Pit Bull.
 
(12)      No dog shall be declared to be a vicious dog if the injury or damage was sustained by a person who, at the time, was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog, or which the dog was protecting its owner from attack by a human being.  No dog shall be declared to be a dangerous dog if the proof of dangerousness concerns an incident where a person was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog, or which the dog was protecting its owner from attack by a human being.
 
(13)      All owners of dangerous dogs shall, annually on or before April 15th of each year, register their dog at the City Treasurer's Office and shall provide a current color photograph of the dog with the Treasurer's Office, provide proof of dog bite liability insurance in an amount of not less than $100,000.00 and shall pay a registration fee in an amount established by resolution of the Common Council. Rep. & Recr. 04/05/00, 1764

(14)      The owner of any Pit Bull registered and licensed by the City Treasurer on or before April 1, 1989 shall comply with all provisions of this ordinance applicable to dangerous dogs.  Any owner of a Pit Bull who fails to keep current the dog's license and registration as provided in Paragraph 13 hereof must remove the dog from the City of South Milwaukee and will not be eligible to re-register to dog.  The owner of any previously-permitted Pit Bull who fails to keep current the dog's license is subject to the penalties applicable to any Pit Bull not registered and licensed on April 1, 1989.

(15)      While on the owner's property, a dangerous dog must be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure, suitable to prevent the entry of young children, and designed to prevent the animal from escaping.  Such pen or structure must have a minimum dimension of five feet by ten feet and must have secure sides and a secure top.  If it has no bottom secured to the sides, the sides must be imbedded into the ground no less than two feet.  The enclosure must also provide protection from the elements for the dog.

(16)      The owner or keeper of a dangerous dog shall display a sign on his or her premises facing out from all sides of the premises warning that there is a dangerous dog on the property.  This sign must be visible and capable of being read from a public highway or thoroughfare or within 20 feet of its placement.  In addition, the owner shall conspicuously display a sign with a symbol warning children of the presence of a dangerous dog.

(17)      A dangerous dog may be off the owner's premises if it is muzzled and restrained by an approved lead or chain not exceeding three feet in length and is under the control, by leash, of an adult, able-bodied person.  The muzzle must be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration, but must prevent it from biting any person or animal.
 
(18)      It shall be the duty of such persons as from time to time may be designated by resolution of the Common Council to apprehend any unlicensed dogs.  The South Milwaukee Police Department shall, whenever possible, see that such dogs are transferred to the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Facility (MADAC) at the earliest possible date where the dogs may be taken care of and reclaimed by the owner under the rules and regulations of said Animal Control Facility.  When the dog is impounded by the City before being transferred to MADAC, the owner reclaiming the dog shall be required to pay an amount as established by resolution of the Common Council to the City of South Milwaukee.  Rep. & Recr. 04/05/00, 1764

(19)      It shall be the duty of the South Milwaukee Police Department and such other persons as from time to time may be designated by resolution of the Common Council to apprehend any dangerous dogs running at large.  Any dangerous dog found running at large shall be impounded and returned to its owner only upon proof of registration as a dangerous dog.

(20)      The owner of any dog previously determined to be dangerous found off the owner or custodian's premises, without a muzzle and/or unleashed and/or not in the control of an able-bodied adult, as required in this ordinance, shall, upon conviction, be subject to a forfeiture of not less that $500.00 and not more than $1,000.00.

(21)      In any event, when a dog is impounded, the impounding authority shall give notice to the owners of the impoundment and advise the owners whether and under what circumstances the dog may be redeemed.  The owner of any animal impounded, confined or destroyed pursuant to the terms of this ordinance shall be responsible for all costs of such confinement, impoundment or destruction.

(22)      Whenever any person is charged with harboring a vicious dog or Pit Bull as defined in this ordinance, that person shall, to the satisfaction of the Court, remove said dog from the City of South Milwaukee until the trial of the citation.  If the owner fails to remove the dog within 48 hours of the service of the citation, the South Milwaukee Police Department shall impound the dog until the trial on the citation.  If the dog is determined by plea or trial to be a vicious dog or Pit Bull it shall not be returned to the City of South Milwaukee.  Any dog returned to the City of South Milwaukee after being determined to be a vicious dog or a Pit Bull constitutes a public nuisance.  Rep. & Recr. 10/06/92, 1522

(23)      If the owner of a dog, not a Pit Bull and not a dog previously determined to be a dangerous dog, negligently or otherwise permits the dog to run at large or be untagged, the owner shall forfeit not less than $25.00 nor more than $100.00 for the first offense and not less than $50.00 nor more than $200.00 for subsequent offenses.

(24)      All dogs shall be licensed as provided in Sec. 23.21 to 23.24 of the City of South Milwaukee Municipal Code.

(25)      Violations and Penalties.  Where any provision of this ordinance is violated and the violation precipitates impoundment of a dog, the owner shall pay all impoundment fees and in addition: 

(A)  Any person violating or committing violation of provisions of Paragraph 7 of this ordinance shall, upon conviction, be assessed a forfeiture of not less than $250.00 nor more than $1,000.00;

(B)  Any person violating or committing violation of provisions of Paragraphs 8 or 11 of this ordinance shall, upon conviction, be assessed a forfeiture of not less than $250.00 nor more than $1,000.00.  Maintaining or keeping a vicious dog or Pit Bull within the City limits of the City of South Milwaukee after a finding in Municipal Court that the owner of that dog has violated any provision of this ordinance relating to vicious dogs or Pit Bulls is hereby declared to be a public nuisance.

(26)      Every day that a violation of this ordinance continues, it shall be deemed a separate offense. In addition to the foregoing penalties, any person who violates this ordinance shall pay all expenses including shelter, food, handling, veterinary care, and expert testimony fees necessitated by enforcement of this ordinance.

(27)      The provisions of this ordinance regarding dangerous and vicious dogs shall not apply to animals owned by law enforcement agencies and used for law enforcement purposes.

 

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