In St. Francis, Wisconsin, no person may harbor, keep or maintain any pit bull that was not registered and licensed by October 1, 2001. Any person having knowledge that another has an unregistered pit bull must file a sworn affidavit with the Municipal Court Clerk. Owners of pit bulls that are allowed must comply with all provisions applicable to dangerous dogs, such as securely confining the dog, displaying a dangerous dog sign, and if off of the premises, keep the dog muzzled and on a leash. A violation may result in impoundment of the dog, as well as a forfeiture of up to $1,000.
§ 180-5 Dangerous and vicious dogs.
A. Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ANIMAL RUNNING AT LARGE
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.
(1) Any dog which, because of its aggressive nature, training or characteristic behavior, is capable of inflicting serious physical harm or death to humans and which would constitute a danger to human life or property if it were not kept in the manner required by this section.
(2) Any dog which, when unprovoked, chases or approaches a person in menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack on public or private property.
Any person, firm, corporation, organization or department possessing, harboring or having the care or custody, whether temporarily or permanently, of a dog.
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 terrier.
An animal is considered to be untagged if a valid license tag is not attached to a collar which is kept on the animal.
Any dog with a propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury to or otherwise threaten the safety of human beings or domestic animals; or any dog which, without provocation, attacks or bites, or has attacked or bitten, a human being or domestic animal; or any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or any dog trained for dog fighting; or any dog which has been found to be vicious by the Municipal Court of the City in a trial or hearing upon a charge of harboring a vicious animal.
B. Prohibitions. No person shall harbor, keep or maintain within the City limits of the City any vicious dog. Any dog alleged to be vicious by virtue of an attack upon a human being or domestic animal shall be impounded as directed by the City 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 pleas to such a charge, shall be prohibited from returning that dog to the City.
C. No person shall harbor, keep or maintain within the City limits of the City any pit bull which was not currently registered and licensed by the City on or before October 1, 2001. This prohibition shall not be applied to animals being transported through the City limits of the City within a one-hour period of time and to dogs exempted under §§ 174.054 and 174.055, Wis. Stats. A pup born to a female pit bull licensed and registered pursuant to this subsection and Subsection H hereof shall be removed from the City before the date on which it is required to be licensed pursuant to Ch. 174, Wis. Stats.
D. 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 the City on or before October 1, 2001, in the City shall file with the Municipal Court Clerk a sworn affidavit setting forth the basis on which he believes 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 if the dog was licensed on October 1, 2001, and if the dog is currently registered as a pit bull pursuant to Subsection H of this section. If the dog was not registered and licensed by the City on October 1, 2001, or is not currently registered pursuant to the provisions of Subsection H of this section, the Clerk shall schedule a hearing to determine if the dog is a pit bull. The Clerk shall have notice of the hearing sent 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 Subsection Q hereof shall govern disposition of the dog.
E. 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 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 Subsections H, J, K and L hereof.
F. No person shall return to or harbor within the City limits of the City a dog previously determined by the Municipal Court to be a vicious dog or a pit bull. The provisions of Subsection Q hereof shall govern the disposition of such a dog.
G. 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 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 dog was protecting its owner from attack by a human being.
H. All owners of dangerous dogs shall, on or before October 15, 2001, and annually thereafter on or before October 15 of each year, register their dog and shall provide a current color photograph of the dog with the Treasurer's office and pay a registration fee in an amount established by resolution of the Common Council.
I. The owner of any pit bull registered and licensed by the City Treasurer on or before October 1, 2001, shall comply with all provisions of this section applicable to dangerous dogs. Any owner of a pit bull who fails to keep current the dog's license and registration as provided in Subsection H hereof must remove the dog from the City and will not be eligible to reregister the 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 October 1, 2001.
J. 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 10 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.
K. The owner or keeper 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 should 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.
L. 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 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.
M. 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 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.
N. It shall be the duty of the 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.
O. The owner of any dog previously determined to be dangerous found running at large shall, upon conviction, pay a forfeiture of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000.
P. 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 section shall be responsible for all cost of such confinement, impoundment or destruction.
Q. Whenever any person is charged with harboring a vicious dog or pit bull as defined in this section, that person shall, to the satisfaction of the Court, remove said dog from the City until the trial of the citation. If the owner fails to remove the dog within 48 hours of the service of the citation, the Police Department shall impound the dog until the trial of the citation. If the dog is determined by plea or trial to be a vicious dog or pit bull pursuant to Subsection C hereof, it shall not be returned to the City. Any dog returned to the City after being determined to be a vicious dog or a pit bull constitutes a public nuisance.
R. 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 nor more than $100 for the first offense and not less than $50 nor more than $200 for subsequent offenses.
S. All dogs shall be licensed as provided in § 180-4 of this chapter.
T. Violations and penalties. Where any provision of this section is violated and the violation precipitates impoundment of a dog, the owner shall pay all impoundment fees and in addition:
(1) Any person violating or committing violation of provisions of Subsection B of this section shall, upon conviction, be assessed a forfeiture of not less than $250 nor more then $1,000.
(2) Any person violating or committing violation of provisions of Subsection C or F of this section shall, upon conviction, be assessed a forfeiture of not less than $250 nor more than $1,000. Maintaining or keeping a vicious dog or pit bull within the City limits of the City after a finding in Municipal Court that the owner of that dog has violated any provision of this section relating to vicious dogs or pit bulls is hereby declared to be a public nuisance.
U. Every day that a violation of this section continues it shall be deemed a separate offense. In addition to the foregoing penalties, any person who violates this section shall pay all expenses, including shelter, food, handling, veterinary care, and expert testimony fees, necessitated by enforcement of this section.
V. The provisions of this section regarding dangerous and vicious dogs shall not apply to animals owned by law enforcement agencies and used for law enforcement purposes.