2015 - 2016 LEGISLATURE
March 13, 2015 - Introduced by Senators Hansen and Carpenter, cosponsored by
Representatives Jacque, Subeck, Sinicki, Wachs, Steffen, Murphy, A. Ott
and Spiros. Referred to Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety.
1An Act to create
173.29, 938.3416, 941.293, 971.17 (1i) and 973.0336 of the 2
statutes; relating to: possession of dogs by certain felony offenders and
3providing a penalty.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Current law prohibits a person from possessing a firearm if he or she is a felony
offender. A person is a felony offender if any of the following applies: 1) he or she
has been found guilty of a felony; 2) he or she has been adjudicated delinquent as a
juvenile for an act that would have been a felony if it had been committed by an adult;
or 3) he or she has been found not guilty of a felony by reason of mental disease,
defect, or illness. If a felony offender violates the prohibition against possessing a
firearm, he or she may be fined not more than $25,000 or imprisoned for not more
than ten years, or both.
This bill prohibits, for a specified period, certain felony offenders from
possessing, controlling, or residing with a vicious dog, as determined by a humane
officer or a law enforcement officer using criteria specified in the bill. The prohibition
applies to a person whose status as a felony offender is based on the commission of
an act that is classified under the bill as a serious felony (serious felony offender).
A serious felony offender who violates the prohibition may be fined up to $10,000 or
imprisoned for up to nine months, or both. If a serious felony offender violates the
prohibition and a person or an animal suffers great bodily harm or death due to the
violation, the serious felony offender may be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned for
up to three years and six months, or both. If a serious felony offender violates the
and a person suffers great bodily harm or death due to the violation and the serious
felony offender knowingly allowed the dog to run loose or failed to take steps to
control the dog, the serious felony offender may be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned
for up to six years, or both.
Unless the serious felony offender is on extended supervision or another
supervised status (extended supervision), the prohibition applies to the serious
felony offender for a period of ten years following: 1) any period of incarceration for
the serious felony; 2) the conviction for the serious felony if the sentence does not
include a period of incarceration; 3) the delinquency adjudication for the serious
felony; or 4) the finding of not guilty of the serious felony by reason of insanity or
mental disease, defect, or illness. If the serious felony offender is on extended
supervision, the prohibition period applies until he or she is no longer on extended
Under this bill, a serious felony offender may request an exemption from the
prohibition if the exemption is reasonably needed to earn a livelihood or as a
condition of employment and will not endanger public safety. A serious felony
offender seeking an exemption must file a motion in the circuit court for the county
in which he or she will possess, control, or reside with the vicious dog. The serious
felony offender must provide a copy of the motion to the district attorney for that
county, who must in turn make a reasonable attempt to contact local law enforcement
agencies to inform them of the request and to solicit any information that may be
relevant to whether the request should be granted.
Because this bill creates a new crime or revises a penalty for an existing crime,
the Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties may be requested to prepare a
report concerning the proposed penalty and the costs or savings that are likely to
result if the bill is enacted.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
173.29 of the statutes is created to read:
2173.29 Vicious dogs. (1) Definition.
In this section, "serious physical injury" 3
means physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death; that causes serious 4
disfigurement, protracted impairment of health, or impairment of a bodily organ; or 5
that necessitates plastic surgery.
If a humane officer or law enforcement officer, after 7
conducting an investigation, determines that a dog satisfies one of the standards
under sub. (3), the humane officer or law enforcement officer may issue a written 2
order to the owner or custodian of the dog declaring the dog to be vicious for purposes 3
of s. 941.293. In the written order, the humane officer or law enforcement officer shall 4
notify the owner or custodian of the dog of the incidents that are the basis for the 5
investigation. The written order shall include a description of s. 941.293 and of the 6
right to a hearing under ch. 68.
The humane officer or law enforcement officer may determine 8
that a dog is vicious if one of the following applies:
(a) The dog, without justification, attacked a person and caused serious 10
physical injury or death.
(b) The dog has done any of the following on at least 3 occasions, without 12
1. Bitten a person without causing serious physical injury or death.
2. Behaved in a manner that a reasonable person would believe posed a 15
significant, imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to a person.
The humane officer or law enforcement officer may not 17
determine that a dog's actions are without justification if any of the following applies:
(a) A person threatened, bitten, or attacked by the dog was committing a crime 19
against the owner or custodian of the dog or was committing a willful trespass or 20
other tort upon property owned or occupied by the owner or custodian of the dog.
(b) A person threatened, bitten, or attacked by the dog was abusing, assaulting, 22
or physically threatening the dog or its offspring or had previously abused, 23
assaulted, or physically threatened the dog or its offspring.
(c) The dog was responding to pain or injury or was protecting itself, its 2
offspring, another dog living on the same property, its owner or custodian, or a person 3
living in the household of its owner or custodian.
938.3416 of the statutes is created to read:
5938.3416 Delinquency adjudication; restriction on possessing certain
Whenever a court adjudicates a juvenile delinquent for an act that if 7
committed by an adult in this state would be a serious felony, as defined in s. 941.293 8
(1) (b), the court shall inform the juvenile of the requirements and penalties under 9
941.293 of the statutes is created to read:
11941.293 Possession of certain dogs.
In this section:
(a) "Confinement term" means a period during which a person is incarcerated 13
(b) "Serious felony" means a felony under s. 940.01, 940.02, 940.03, 940.05, 15
940.19 (2), (4), or (5), 940.225 (1) or (2), 940.31, 943.02, 943.10 (2), 943.23 (1g), 943.32 16
(2), 946.43 (1m), 948.02 (1) or (2), 948.025, 948.03 (2) (a) or (c) or (3) (a), 948.05, 17
948.08, or 948.30 (2) or a felony violation of ch. 961.
(c) "Vicious dog" means a dog that is determined to be vicious under s. 173.29.
A person is subject to the requirements and penalties of this 20
section if any of the following applies:
(a) 1. He or she has been convicted of a serious felony in this state and was 22
serving a confinement term for that conviction within the preceding 10 years.
2. He or she has been convicted of a crime elsewhere that would be a serious 24
felony if committed in this state and was serving a confinement term for that 25
conviction within the preceding 10 years.
(b) 1. He or she has been convicted of a serious felony in this state within the 2
preceding 10 years.
2. Within the preceding 10 years, he or she has been convicted of a crime 4
elsewhere that would be a serious felony if committed in this state.
(c) 1. He or she is on extended supervision as part of a sentence following a 6
conviction for a serious felony or is on parole or probation following a conviction for 7
a serious felony.
2. He or she is on a supervised status following a conviction for a crime 9
elsewhere that would be a serious felony if committed in this state.
(d) He or she has been adjudicated delinquent within the preceding 10 years 11
for an act that if committed by an adult in this state would be a serious felony.
(e) He or she has been found not guilty within the preceding 10 years of a 13
serious felony, or of a crime elsewhere that would be a serious felony if committed in 14
this state, by reason of insanity or mental disease, defect, or illness.
A person specified in sub. (2) may not possess, control, or 16
reside with a vicious dog.
(a) Except as provided in pars. (b) and (c), whoever violates sub. 18
(3) is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(b) Whoever violates sub. (3) is guilty of a Class I felony if an individual or an 20
animal suffers great bodily harm or death as a result of the violation.
(c) Whoever violates sub. (3) is guilty of a Class H felony if an individual suffers 22
great bodily harm or death as a result of the violation and the actor knowingly 23
allowed the dog to run loose or failed to take steps to keep the dog in an enclosure or 24
(a) This section does not apply to any person specified in sub. 2
(2) who has received a pardon with respect to the serious felony.
(b) Subsection (3) does not apply to a person if any of the following applies:
1. Not more than 5 days have elapsed since the person received a written order 5
under s. 173.29 declaring the dog vicious.