Wisconsin Statutes

Statute by category Citationsort descending Summary
WI - Trust - 701.0408 Trust care for an animal W.S.A. 701.1110; 701.0402; 701.0408

This statute represents Wisconsin's pet trust law.  The former law was not a specific pet trust law, but the new law is. The new provisions allows for a trust to be created for the care of an animal alive during the settlor's lifetime.

WI - Dog - Consolidated Dog Laws W. S. A. 1.10; 29.184; 29.921; 29.927; 29.971; 169.20 - 36; 173.01 - 40; 174.001 - 15

These Wisconsin statutes comprise the state's dog laws.  Among the provisions include dog licensing provisions, hunting laws impacting dogs, and seizure of dogs by humane officers.

WI - Fur - 100.35. Furs to be labeled W. S. A. 100.35

This law represents Wisconsin's fur labeling law. The law states that no person shall sell or offer or display for sale any coat, jacket or other garment made wholly or partially of fur without a label that states in English the species of fur or pelt used. This section does not apply to such garments displayed, offered, or sold at a price of less than $50.

WI - Assistance Animals - Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws W. S. A. 106.50; 106.52; 346.26; 951.01, .097, .18

The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.

WI - Chickens, transport - 134.52. Shipment of chickens W. S. A. 134.52

This Wisconsin statute requires that poultry not be overcrowded and the shipping container must be at least 13 inches in high on the inside and covered at the top in a way that prevents the chickens from getting caught in the top.

WI - Exotic pets - Chapter 169. Captive Wildlife W. S. A. 169.01 - 46

The Wisconsin wildlife laws require a license to take a wild animal from the wild or to import one into the state. A license is also required to exhibit, breed, rehabilitate, hunt, and/or purchase wild animals. Violations can result in fines, forfeiture, and/or imprisonment.

WI - Lost Property - Chapter 170. Strays and Lost Chattels. W. S. A. 170.01 - 12

These statutes comprise Wisconsin's lost property provisions.

WI - Impound - 173.13. Taking custody of animals W. S. A. 173.13

This Wisconsin statute provides that a humane officer may take into custody (impound) an animal that he or she has reasonable grounds to believe is abandoned, stray, unwanted, unlicensed/untagged, not in compliance with an ordinance or quarantine, has caused damage, has been a participant in a fight, is the victim of cruelty, or was delivered by a veterinarian under the provisions of this statute.  If the owner of the impounded animal is known to the humane officer, then the officer shall promptly notify the owner in writing if he or she can be identified and located with reasonable effort.

WI - Impound - 173.23. Disposition of animals W. S. A. 173.23

This Wisconsin statue provides the necessary elements for an owner needs to retrieve his or her impounded dog.  Included are reasonable proof of ownership, licensure if required by statute or ordinance, proof of vaccination as required by ordinance, and payment of charges.  If an animal is not claimed, the statute outlines several dispositions, such as adoption, euthanization, and sale of the animal at public auction, including sale at a licensed animal market. 

WI - Dog, licenses - Chapter 174. Dogs. 174.06. Listing W. S. A. 174.06

This Wisconsin statute provides that every town, village and city shall annually, by September 1, ascertain by diligent inquiry the dogs owned or kept within the assessment district.  The listing official shall enter in the records for personal property assessments, or in a separate record, all dogs in the district subject to tax, to whom they are assessed, the name, number, sex, spayed or unspayed, neutered or unneutered, breed and color of each dog.

WI - Dog, licenses - Dogs. 174.07. Dog licenses and collar tags W. S. A. 174.07

This Wisconsin statute provides for collection of delinquent dog license fees.

WI - Dangerous dog - 174.11. Claims for damage by dogs to domestic animals including ranch mink W. S. A. 174.11

This Wisconsin provides that the owner of any domestic animal, including a ranch mink, which is attacked, chased, injured or killed by a dog may, within 3 days after the owner has knowledge or notice thereof, file a written claim for damages with the clerk of the town, village or city in which the damage occurred.  A hearing then occurs where witnesses may be subpoenaed under oath, and testimony relative to the claim is taken.  The county board shall allow, as the amount of a claim for a domestic animal, including a ranch mink, injured by a dog, the amount determined to be the total of the costs resulting from the injury including a loss in fair market value but the total amount of the claim may not exceed the fair market value.

WI - Dog Bite - Chapter 174. Dogs. 174.12. Actions against owners W. S. A. 174.12

This Wisconsin statute outlines the allowance procedure by counties for damage done by dogs after a claim is filed and the county sues to recover from the owner of the damaging dog.  The claimant shall first be notified that such action is contemplated and shall have been given a reasonable opportunity to be heard and to offer further evidence in support of the claimant's claim.  It also provides that this chapter shall not in any way limit the existing right or authority of any town, village or city to pass ordinances for the keeping and regulating of dogs, or repeal or annul any existing statute or ordinance or local regulation governing the keeping and regulating of dogs.

WI - Hunting - 29.083. Interference with hunting, fishing or trapping W. S. A. 29.083

This law reflects Wisconsin's hunter harassment provision. Under the law, no person may interfere or attempt to interfere with lawful hunting, fishing or trapping with the intent to prevent the taking of a wild animal. It is an affirmative defense to the prosecution for violation of this section if the defendant's conduct is protected by his or her right to freedom of speech under the constitution of this state or of the United States. A court may enjoin action prohibited under this statute and may award damages, including punitive and special damages, to a person adversely affected.

WI - Endangered Species - 29.604. Endangered and threatened species protected W. S. A. 29.604, 29.977, 29.983

This Wisconsin statute embodies the legislative view that certain wild animals and wild plants are endangered or threatened and are entitled to preservation and protection as a matter of general state concern. Violation of the Act with regard to protected animal species may result in a $500-2,000 for a taking, and a $2,000-5,000 fine with 9 months imprisonment for an intentional taking.  Both incur the suspension of hunting license privileges.  Incidental takings may be allowed through permit if steps are taken to establish and file a "conservation plan."

WI - Fur - 29.627. Domestic fur-bearing animal farms W. S. A. 29.627

This Wisconsin law states that fur farming constitutes an "agricultural pursuit." Any such animals raised in captivity are domestic animals for purposes of ownership, possession, and taxation.

WI - Ordinances - 59.52. County administration W. S. A. 59.52

This Wisconsin statute provides a schedule for destruction of obsolete town records, which includes dog licenses after three years.

WI - Ordinances - 59.54. Public protection and safety W. S. A. 59.54

This Wisconsin statute provides that a local board may enact ordinances regulating the keeping, apprehension, impounding and destruction of dogs outside the corporate limits of any city or village, but such ordinances shall not conflict with ss. 174.01 and 174.042, and such ordinances may not apply in any town that has enacted an ordinance under s. 60.23(30).

WI - Ordinances - Subchapter IV. Town Board. 60.23. Miscellaneous powers W. S. A. 60.23

This Wisconsin statute provides that the town board may enact and enforce ordinances, and provide forfeitures for violations of those ordinances, that are the same as or similar to ordinances that may be enacted by a county to regulate dogs running at large under s. 59.54(20).

WI - Equine Activity Liability - 895.481. Civil liability exemption; equine activities W. S. A. 895.481

Under this Wisconsin statute, a person is immune from civil liability for acts or omissions related to his or her participation in equine activities if a person participating in the equine activity is injured or killed as the result of an inherent risk of equine activities.  Notably, the statute provides that a person whose only involvement in an equine activity is as a spectator shall not be considered to be participating in the equine activity.  The statute also requires the visible displaying of warning signs or bold print in a written waiver that alerts participants to the limitation of liability by law.

WI - Vehicle - 895.484. Civil liability exemption; entering a vehicle to render assistance W. S. A. 895.484

This Wisconsin law enacted in 2015 makes a person immune from civil liability for property damage or injury resulting from his or her forcible entry into a vehicle to rescue an animal or person. Immunity is provided only if certain conditions were met. The person must have a "good faith belief" that the person or domestic animal was in imminent danger of suffering bodily harm and used no more force than necessary to remove the person or animal. That person must have first determined the vehicle was locked and forcible entry was necessary, and that person must have dialed 911 or other emergency services prior to this action. In addition, the person must have waited with the person or animal until emergency services arrived or left information on the vehicle's windshield as described in the law.

WI - Breed - 95.13. Misrepresenting breed of domestic animal W. S. A. 95.13

Under this Wisconsin statute, no person may sell any domestic animal or represent that such domestic animal is a pure bred animal, if the animal is not registered or entitled to be registered, in any pure breed registry for that breed.

WI - Import - 95.20. Import and movement of animals W. S. A. 95.20

Under this Wisconsin statute, the importation or movement of animals may be prohibited or regulated if it is necessary to prevent the introduction or spread of a disease that threatens the health of animals or of humans.

WI - Rabies - 95.21. Rabies control program W. S. A. 95.21

Under this Wisconsin statute, rabies vaccinations are required for dogs, and they must be revaccinated once every year. The owner must attach the rabies vaccination tag to a collar, which must be kept on the dog at all time. The tag must have the serial number of the vaccination certificate, the year the vaccination was given and the name, address and telephone number of the supervising veterinarian. An owner who fails to have a dog vaccinated against rabies may be required to forfeit $50 to $100.

WI - Slaughter - 95.80. Humane slaughtering W. S. A. 95.80, .99

Under this Wisconsin statute, livestock may only be slaughtered by humane methods, such that they are rendered insensible to pain by a single blow or shot of a mechanical instrument or by electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and effective, before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast, or cut. Religious ritual slaughter practices whereby the animal suffers loss of consciousness by anemia of the brain caused by the simultaneous and instantaneous severance of the carotid arteries with a sharp instrument, are also considered to be “humane.”

WI - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes W. S. A. 951.01 - 18; W.S.A. 944.17

This section comprises the Wisconsin anti-cruelty section.  Under the section, "animal" includes every living warm-blooded creature (except a human being), reptile, or amphibian.  The section prohibits "mistreating animals," which is defined as treating any animal, whether belonging to the person or another, in a cruel manner.  This section does not prohibit bona fide experiments carried on for scientific research or normal and accepted veterinary practices.  This section also prohibits the instigation of dogfights, and has a unique provisions that prohibits the shooting of caged or staked animals.

WI - Wildlife - Subchapter XII. Wildlife Damage W.S.A. 29.885 - 29.89

Under these Wisconsin statutes, wild animals that are causing damage or a nuisance may be removed. These statutes also establish a wildlife damage abatement program and venison processing and donation program. Wildlife control measures in urban communities and management of double-crested cormorants are also provided.

WI - Research animals - 36.40. Use of animals for research purposes W.S.A. 36.40

This Wisconsin law states that the board of higher education for the University of Wisconsin System shall adopt criteria for researchers to follow regarding humane treatment of animals for scientific research purposes.

WI - Cats - 59.79. Milwaukee County (cat license ordinance) W.S.A. 59.79

[Editor's Note: in 2013, Section 12 concerning cats was repealed. The statute no longer references cats.] This Wisconsin statute provides that the board of commissioners in a county with a population of 500,000 or more may enact an ordinance requiring licenses for cats.

WI - Veterinary - Chapter 89. Veterinary Examining Board W.S.A. 89.02 - .08

These are the state's veterinary practice laws.  Among the provisions include licensing requirements, laws concerning the state veterinary board, veterinary records laws, and the laws governing disciplinary actions for impaired or incompetent practitioners.

WI - Hunting - 951.09. Shooting at caged or staked animals W.S.A. 951.09

This Wisconsin statute prohibits the killing or aiding in killing or wounding by use of deadly weapon of any animal that is tied, staked out, caged or otherwise intentionally confined in a man-made enclosure, regardless of size.  However, nothing in this section prohibits the shooting of any wild game in its wild state.

WI - Horsemeat - 97.45. Labeling of horsemeat W.S.A. 97.45 (97.45. Repealed by 2015 Act 243, § 59, eff. March 3, 2016)

[97.45. Repealed by 2015 Act 243, § 59, eff. March 3, 2016]. This former statute states that no person shall sell any horsemeat, unless it is conspicuously labeled, marked, branded or tagged “horsemeat.” Violation is a Class H felony.

WI - Domestic Violence - 813.12. Domestic abuse restraining orders and injunctions Wis. Stat. Ann. § 813.12, 813.122, 813.123

These Wisconsin statutes concern restraining orders or injunctions in domestic abuse cases, child abuse cases, and cases filed by "individuals as risk." In each of these laws, there are protections for “household pets,” defined as domestic animals that are not farm animals, as defined in s. 951.01(3), that are kept, owned, or cared for by the petitioner or by a family member or a household member of the petitioner. In both cases of domestic abuse and child abuse, a judge or circuit court commissioner shall issue a temporary restraining order ordering the respondent to refrain from removing, hiding, damaging, harming, or mistreating, or disposing of, a household pet, to allow the petitioner or a family member or household member of the petitioner acting on his or her behalf to retrieve a household pet, or any combination of these remedies requested in the petition. The domestic abuse and child abuse laws then outline the procedures for obtaining an injunction that includes those protections for domestic pets if requirements are met under the laws. In section 813.123, an "individual at risk," may also seek a TRO and injunction that orders the respondent to refrain from removing, hiding, damaging, harming, or mistreating, or disposing of, a household pet and allow the individual at risk or a guardian, guardian ad litem, family member, or household member of the individual at risk acting on his or her behalf to retrieve a household pet.

WI - Cats - Question 62 - DEFEATED Wisconsin 2005 Question 62

This controversial measure would have allowed hunters to hunt any cat that was found free roaming, meaning it did not exhibit a collar or other signs of domestic ownership.  At the Monday, April 11, 2005 meeting of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, those in favor of the feral cat hunting proposal  approved the measure by a vote of 6,830 to 5,201.  This approval was then forwarded to the state Natural Resources Board for consideration.  Proponents of the measure suggest feral cats expose domestic animals to disease and endanger native songbirds.  Opponents of the measure counter that such a law would be cruel and archaic, putting domestic cats who have escaped from their homes at risk of death.  On May 25, 2005 at the Natural Resources Board regular spring meeting, a representative of the Congress indicated that the Executive Committee has declined to pursue the issue any further.  (See the official meeting minutes at page 5 at http://dnr.wi.gov/org/nrboard/minutes/M05/0505%20minutes.pdf ).  Feral cat advocates claimed a public relations victory, as the measure gained national and even international criticism.  (See Alley Cat Allies at http://www.alleycat.org/wi.html ).  (For more on the procedural history of this measure, see the "Long Summary" under the "Statute Details" above).