Grant the Variance
  • Petitioned Wausau, Wisconsin Public Health and Safety Committee

This petition was delivered to:

Lisa Rasmussen
Wausau, Wisconsin Public Health and Safety Committee
Mayor or Wausau
James Tipple
City Council
Wausau City Council
Wisconsin State House
State Rep. Mandy Wright

Grant the Variance

    1. Cindi Ashbeck
    2. Petition by

      Cindi Ashbeck

      Manitowoc, WI


In America, we enjoy many freedoms and privileges, including the right to own pets.  And, most of us who exercise our right to have pets in our homes come to look at them as members of our family…family members who mean as much to us as our spouses and children do.

If you live in Wausau, Wisconsin, however, you face the very real danger of having your family broken-up depending on the number of pets you have.  That’s because the city has an ordinance that limits a person’s right to own pets, meaning a resident of Wausau cannot legally have more than two dogs on a single parcel of property…as Melissa Lecker, her husband, and young children recently found out.

When a Wausau police officer stopped by the Lecker’s house by accident, the Leckers welcomed him inside.  It didn’t take long for the officer to notice the Leckers had four dogs in their home, two more than permitted by law.

Being proactive, the Leckers quickly went before Wausau’s Public Health and Safety Committee to request a one-time variance that would allow them to keep all four of their dogs long enough for the two eldest ones, one of which is 13 years-old, to pass with the only family the dogs have ever known.  The committee denied the Lecker’s request. 

As Lisa Rasmussen, Chairperson of the Wausau Public Health and Safety Committee, cold-heartedly explains, “Other than getting rid of two dogs, there is nothing she [Melissa] can do to get the complaint right now.”

Now, because the Leckers innocently opened their door to accommodate a police officer who stopped by the family’s property accidentally, they are in danger of having to pay a $300 fine for each day that all of their dogs, their family members, remain in their home…a daily fine that could add up to more than $9,000 in a given month. 

The Leckers, who refuse to give up any one, let alone any two of their dogs, have put their house on the market hoping to avoid the exorbitant fines the city is threatening them with...fines they will face simply because they love their pets, or, as Wausau sees it, too many of their pets.

Please sign this petition and help the Leckers retain their right to keep their family, all of their family, together.  We need at least 5,000 signatures to even hope the Wausau Public Health and Safety Committee will reverse its decision and grant the Leckers the one-time variance they need to keep all four of their pets in their current home.  Please, take a moment to sign this petition so the Committee will do the right, the just thing.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 500 signatures
    2. We are almost half way to the goal!

      Cindi Ashbeck
      Petition Organizer

      This petition has been noticed. Let's get the numbers to 1000, so it can be forwarded to the people who need to know that this is something government can't control!

    3. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Amy Malach TWO RIVERS, WI
      • over 2 years ago

      If a family can afford proper care for pets then you should be able to have as many as they can handle. As long as no one is being bothered by their furry kids let them be.

    • david berl FRESH MEADOWS, NY
      • over 2 years ago

      this law is ridiculous for people that love and take care of their pets responsibly

    • Denise LaChance LOS ANGELES, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      What a cruel cold-hearted place Wausau Wisconsin is. I hope I never have to visit or live there if that's what you're like.

    • Sheila Gross PISCATAWAY, NJ
      • over 2 years ago

      People can't have more than three GERBILS??? How disruptive would three mouse-sized rodents be? Why are limit laws needed, anyway? Level of care is not indicated by number of pets!

    • Edison Stone LA FARGE, WI
      • over 2 years ago

      The law is unreasonable and should be flexible enough to allow variance for responsible pet owners. Extending the limits to small caged animals like gerbils is beyond ridiculous and fascist. The Wausau City Council needs to be replaced with individuals responsive to the needs of the taxpayers. The take home message from this article, is: NEVER GIVE PERMISSION TO A PUBLIC OFFICIAL TO ENTER YOUR PROPERTY FOR ANY REASON, BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THEY WILL FIND SOMETHING WRONG TO PROSECUTE YOU FOR. THEY ARE TRAINED TO DO THAT. Agree to meet them at their offices if necessary, but don't let them inside of your home or even in your yards.

      I am a veterinarian trained and experienced in regulatory enforcement and know what I am talking about.


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