Bills of Note Gone Dog Wild

In this week’s edition of Political Tidbits we cover the furry-sided legislation that’s making its way through the Wisconsin Legislature: pets included on protective orders, dogs and felons, and a proposal for the State Lizard. 

Pets on Protective Orders

A bipartisan bill introduced by Representative Andrè Jacque (R-De Pere) and Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) would allow restraining or injunction orders to extend to household pets. The bill would bar the subject from coming into any contact with the household pet, and would allow the victim of the abuse or a person acting on their behalf to retrieve the household pet from the person subject to the order. Assembly Bill 141/Senate Bill 97 is currently awaiting a public hearing.

If passed, Wisconsin would be the 30th to pass legislation that includes provisions for pets in domestic violence retraining orders. Similar legislation has also been introduced on the federal level. According to sponsors of the federal legislation, one-third of domestic violence victims delay leaving their abusers because of concern for their pets and only 3% of domestic violence shelters in the U.S. can accommodate pets.

Vicious Dogs

A bill that would prohibit serious felony offenders from possessing, controlling, or residing with a vicious dog has been introduced with bipartisan authors Rep. Jacque and Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay).

If passed, Assembly Bill 127 would act similarly to the prohibition of felons possessing firearms. The offender could be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned for up to nine months; and if harm is caused to any person or animal the offender could be imprisoned for up to three-and-a- half years.

The bill is currently awaits a public hearing with the Assembly committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety.

The State Lizard 

Mrs. Grimm’s 4th grade class at Edward Bain School of Language and Arts in Kenosha has proposed legislation for the five-lined skink to be names the Wisconsin State Lizard. The bill draft is currently circulating for sponsors, but authors already include a bipartisan group of legislators from the Kenosha area.

According to the co-sponsorship memo, ”One fun fact about the common five-lined skink is when threatened by a predator, the lizards can drop (as in detach) their tails. The vertebrae in the tail actually have fracture planes where the tail can separate, and muscles that close off the blood supply almost immediately. The bright blue severed, wriggling tail can distract a predator and allow the lizard to escape.” If only humans had such an anatomical response to fear, it would make political debates that much more fun to watch.