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If a new bill recently introduced in Madison becomes a law, rescued and stray animals will spend less time on hold and can find their furever families more quickly.

The Wisconsin Humane Society is asking residents to phone their elected representatives in Madison to tell them to support LRB 1926/1, the bill introduced by Rep. John Spiros, R-Marshfield, shortens hold times for rescued animals.

According to an email sent to WHS supporters, Wisconsin has one of the longest hold times in the country and only about 1 percent of rescued animals are claimed on days 5 through 7 of a seven-day hold while the vast majority of dogs and cats are reunited with their families during days 1 through 4.

More, the longer an animal is in stray hold, the more local taxpayers are responsible for that animal’s care. Reducing the number of days in stray hold reduces how much taxpayers are left holding the leash and increases the likelihood of finding a furever home for more animals.

Additionally, the bill would also change the status of animals seized and held as evidence in criminal cases that can take years to wind through the courts. If LRB 1926/1 is approved, it would change the fate of animals labeled as evidence by allowing the shelter that has the animal – mostly dogs – to file the necessary motions to terminate a criminal defendant’s ownership instead of the municipality, which is how the current law works.

“For budget and other reasons, many municipalities are not willing or able to file these motions,” WHS spokesperson Angela Speed said in an email. “The bill would allow shelters to file these motions independently.”

More, current law for dogs seized in fighting cases allows the court to keep animals confined indefinitely while the case winds its way through the system as well as requiring the dogs be “disposed of in a proper and humane manner.” While that statement would seem to require the dogs be put down, LRB 1926/1 would give shelters the ability to assess a dog’s safety and find homes when appropriate.

“While some dogs cannot be adopted, some can,” Speed added.

Key to this provision is the point that an animal’s condition a few days after seizure can present a vastly different picture from the day that animal was rescued, as stated on the WHS website.

“An animal’s condition even a few days after seizure is irrelevant in court.  But in the past, shelters have been required to hold animals for as long as years while cases move through the court system,” a statement on the humane society’s website reads. “This is harmful to animals and expensive for taxpayers.”

Racine County Eye has messages into Reps. Cory Mason, Robin Vos and Tom Weatherston and state Sen. Van Wanggaard asking about their support for this bill. We will update this story when we hear from them.