Change the laws to protect animals (particularly horses) in Wisconsin
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Animal neglect is a serious problem in Wisconsin. This picture of a horse (no not a cow, an emaciated HORSE) was taken 6/24/17 in Vernon County. As one of the poorest counties in the state, Vernon County does not have an animal control officer. There have been several cases of horse neglect in the past few years, and law enforcement cannot do anything to help the animals. As long as there is food - no matter how poor quality - in front of them, their hands are tied.
I had a Vernon County Sheriff's deputy tell me that it was ok for horses not to have water in the winter and it was ok for them to just eat snow because 'that's how the Amish do it'. This is incorrect and shows the lack of animal husbandry knowledge that exists at the local law enforcement level.
There is a currently a horse in Vernon County that is skin and bones. People have offered to take the horse but the county cannot seize the animal. This horse is going to die, she immediately needs vet care and to be put on a refeeding program.
I am asking Senator Schilling and Representative Nerison, as representatives of Vernon County, to immediately sponsor and introduce legislation that would do the following:
1 - Make it mandatory for all Wisconsin counties to have a humane officer on staff.
2 - Change the minimum legal requirements for animal care to include minimal feed quality and quantity, shelter, and access to clean water. The Wisconsin Horse Council, ASPCA, and the Humane Society of the United States as well as local rescues already have guidelines written, as do other states and even counties in Wisconsin.
3 - Train local law enforcement to recognize abuse and neglect. If an animal has open wounds, is visibly lame, or has a body score of under 3 on the Henneke scale, the owner needs to prove or provide immediate veterinary evaluation and care.
4 - Empower county humane officers to seize abused or neglected animals.
5 - Require each county to earmark a reasonable amount of their budget (at least $5,000/year) to cover the care and rehabilitation of seized animals.
It is time that the abuse and neglect stop in Wisconsin. We have an opportunity to be a leader in humane animal treatment, and as a farming and very rural state we have an obligation to do a better job of protecting these animals. Please change the laws in the next congressional session. Thank you.
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