[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of St. Joseph 2-6-1997. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to regulate and control the keeping of animals in the Town of St. Joseph, St. Croix County, Wisconsin, in order to promote the public health, safety, prosperity, aesthetics, quality of life and general welfare in the Town.
The specific intentions of this chapter are to:
The provisions of Chapters 95, 174 and 951 of the Wisconsin Statutes are adopted and made a part hereof by reference, except as otherwise provided herein.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any nonhuman, living being, domestic or wild.
- ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
- The Town Board shall be empowered to appoint an Animal Control Officer(s) or humane organization(s) whose duties shall include enforcement of this chapter and who or which shall have authorization to issue citations for violations thereof. The Town Constable shall be considered an Animal Control Officer with all the rights and duties appurtenant thereto.
- ANIMAL SHELTER
- Any premises designated by the Town Board for the purpose of impounding and caring for animals held under the authority of this chapter.
- COMMERCIAL KENNEL
- Any person, partnership or corporation engaged in the business of breeding, buying, selling or boarding dogs or cats, provided that such person, partnership or corporation is customarily the owner or custodian of more than three dogs or six cats over five months of age.
- A numbered metallic tag to be issued to the owner upon payment of the fee and exhibition of proof of rabies shot.
- Any law enforcement officer of the Town, county or state or person designated by the Town Chairperson or two members of the Town Board to assist in the enforcement of this chapter.
- Any person, partnership or corporation owning, possessing, harboring or keeping an animal or animals.
- PET SHOP
- Any person, partnership or corporation engaged in the business of breeding, buying, selling or boarding animals of any species, except those used for agricultural purposes.
- PIT BULL DOG
- Any dog that substantially conforms to the standards set by the American Kennel Club for American Staffordshire Terriers or Staffordshire Bull Terriers or to the standards set by the United Kennel Club for American Pit Bull Terriers.
- PRIVATE KENNEL
- Any person, partnership or corporation who or which is customarily the owner or custodian of more than three dogs or six cats over five months of age, who or which is not in the business of breeding, buying, selling or boarding of dogs or cats.
- An animal is under restraint within the meaning of this chapter if it is controlled by a leash, at heel beside a competent person and obedient to that person's commands, on or within a vehicle being driven or parked on the streets or roads or within the property limits of its owner or keeper.
- VETERINARY HOSPITAL
- Any establishment maintained and operated by a licensed veterinarian for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries of animals.
- VICIOUS ANIMAL
- Any animal that constitutes a threat to human beings or to other domestic animals due to its intrinsic characteristics or by virtue of a known history to endanger life by an unprovoked assault or bite so as to cause bodily harm.
- A. Upon due cause, an animal may be declared vicious by the Town Constable, Animal Control Officer or Town Board. The owner of the animal declared vicious shall be served personally, or by certified mail with return receipt, with an order declaring the animal vicious and citing the relevant portion of this chapter that may apply. Any animal owner aggrieved by said order may petition the Town Board for a review of the order. Upon receipt of the petition, the Town Board shall schedule and conduct a hearing. At least five days prior to the hearing, the Town Board shall provide written notice of the time, date and place of the hearing to the aggrieved owner. The Town Board shall notify the owner or keeper of the animal, in writing, of its determination. If the owner or keeper contests the determination, he may, within 30 days, seek review of the decision by the Circuit Court.[Amended 9-2-1999]
- B. A dog will not be deemed dangerous if:
- (1) It bites, attacks or menaces anyone assaulting the owner.
- (2) It bites, attacks or menaces a trespasser on the property of the owner.
- (3) It bites, attacks or menaces any person or other animal who or which has tormented or abused it.
- (4) It is otherwise acting in defense of an attack from a person or other animal upon the owner or other person.
- (5) It is protecting or defending its young or other animal.
- WOLF-DOG HYBRID
- Any offspring resulting from the breeding of a wolf and a dog or from the breeding of a wolf and a wolf-dog hybrid or from the breeding of a wolf-dog hybrid and a wolf-dog hybrid.
No owner shall fail to provide any animal with sufficient, good and wholesome food and water, proper shelter and protection from the weather, veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering and with humane care and treatment. No person shall beat, cruelly ill treat, torment or otherwise abuse any animal or cause or permit any dogfight, cockfight, bullfight or other combat between animals or between animals and humans.
No owner of a domestic or domesticated animal shall abandon such animal.
Every female animal in heat shall be confined in a building or other secure enclosure in such manner that such female animal cannot come into contact with another animal, except for planned breeding purposes. This subsection shall not apply to any female animal which shall have been spayed or otherwise rendered sterile. A written statement by a licensed veterinarian shall be considered proof of such condition.
Disposition of all animal waste shall be in a manner that is consistent with maintaining human and animal health. Disposition of animal waste shall not pollute nor contaminate the groundwater or soil.
All animals, except nondomesticated wildlife, shall be kept under restraint.
No wild animals may be kept within Town limits except under such conditions as shall be set by the Town Board or other Animal Control Officer, provided that wild animals may be kept for exhibition purposes by circuses, zoos or educational institutions, in accordance with such regulations as shall be established by Town, county or state law. The Town Board may place conditions on the keeping of wild animals as it deems necessary or advisable under the circumstances to protect the health, safety and welfare of the Town.
Confinement of certain dogs and other animals. The owner shall confine within a building or secure enclosure every fierce, dangerous or vicious animal and shall not take such animal out of such building or secure enclosure unless such animal is securely muzzled and leashed. Every fierce, dangerous or vicious animal must at all times be securely confined indoors or confined in a securely and totally enclosed and locked pen with a top and sides. The floor of the enclosure must be a concrete slab, and the enclosure must be securely attached to the slab.
Confinement of pit bull dogs. Because of the pit bull dog's inbred propensities to attack other animals and because of the danger posed to humans and animals alike by a pit bull dog when running loose or while running together in a pack situation, pit bull dogs must at all times be securely confined indoors or confined in a securely and totally enclosed and locked pen with a top and sides. The floor of the enclosure must be a concrete slab, and the enclosure must be securely attached to the slab. The owner of all pit bull dogs in the Town shall not take such dogs out of such buildings or secure enclosures unless such animal is securely muzzled and leashed. No pit bull dog is allowed within 1,000 feet of a school building or school grounds.
Confinement of wolf-dog hybrids. The owner of all wolf-dog hybrids in the Town shall confine such dogs within buildings or secure enclosures and shall not take such dogs out of such buildings or secure enclosures unless such animal is securely muzzled and leashed. Every wolf-dog hybrid animal must at all times be securely confined indoors or confined in a securely and totally enclosed and locked pen with a top and sides. The floor of the enclosure must be a concrete slab, and the enclosure must be securely attached to the slab.
Permits for wolf-dog hybrids. A Department of Natural Resources permit is required for ownership of wolf dogs in the State of Wisconsin. A copy of this permit shall be filed with the Town Clerk by any owner of wolf dogs in the Town.
Kennels and other commercial animal operations.
A license shall be required for any commercial kennel, private kennel or pet shop. This license shall cover all animals kept during the year and shall be issued by the Town Clerk upon approval of the application by the Town Board, proof of rabies vaccination for all dogs and cats on the premises and payment of the fee.
Proof of rabies shots for each dog and cat over five months of age in the kennel shall be provided to the Town and shall be posted at the kennel. Kennel operators are not required to license individual animals.
A permit shall be required for any person, partnership or corporation owning, operating or managing any establishment engaged in the business of promoting or conducting legitimate contests of skill, speed, strength or endurance between, among or using horses, dogs or any animals. Such permit shall be issued by the Town Clerk upon approval of the application by the Town Board and payment of the fee. Factors the Town Board will consider in deciding whether to issue such permit include proper zoning, adequate liability and other applicable insurance, all required state and federal licenses or permits, adequate parking and any other factors the Board deems necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the Town and its residents.
Dogs. It shall be unlawful for any person in the Town of St. Joseph to own, harbor or keep any dog more than five months of age without complying with the provisions of Chapter 174 of the Wisconsin Statutes relating to the listing, licensing and tagging of the same.
No person shall own, keep or harbor any dog within the Town limits unless such dog is licensed as herein provided. A valid license tag must be attached to the collar which is kept on the dog whenever the dog is outdoors unless the dog is securely confined in a fenced area.
Licenses are available from the Town Treasurer. Written application for such license shall be made to the Town Treasurer and shall state the name and address of the owner and the name, breed, color and sex of the dog and proof of rabies vaccination. The license fee shall be paid at the time of making application and a numbered receipt given to the applicant. A numbered metallic tag shall be issued to the owner upon payment of the license fee.
The yearly license fee shall be according to a schedule of fees set by the Town Board.
All dog licenses shall be issued for one year beginning with the first day of January. There shall be no prorating of the license fees for less than one year.
In the event that the metallic license tag issued for a dog shall be lost, the owner may obtain a new tag. The fee for such new tag shall be set by the Town Board.
If there is a change in the ownership of a dog during the license year, the owner shall notify the Town Treasurer to have the license transferred to the new owner's name.
No person shall use for any dog the license receipt or license tag issued for another dog.
No license shall be issued for any dog without proof of current rabies vaccination having been made to the Town Treasurer.
In accordance with W.S.A. s. 174.055, dogs used by blind, deaf and/or mobility-impaired persons are exempt from the dog license tax, and such persons shall receive annually a free dog license.
It shall be the obligation and responsibility of the owner or custodian of any animal in the Town, whether permanently or temporarily therein, to prevent such animal from committing any act which constitutes a nuisance.
It shall be considered a nuisance for any animal to:
Unreasonably annoy or disturb a person(s) or neighborhood by frequently and habitually howling, yelping, barking or making other such noises;
Emit objectionable odors;
Frequent school grounds, parks or public beaches;
Molest or annoy any person if such person is not on the property of the owner or custodian of such animal;
Molest, defile or destroy any property, excepting that of the owner or custodian, and whether such property is public or private; or
Kill, wound or worry domestic animals, livestock, deer or game birds or the nests or eggs of game birds.
Notwithstanding Subsection A(1)(g) above, normal hunting during hunting season is not precluded.
Failure on the part of the owner or custodian to prevent his animal or animals from committing an act of nuisance shall be subject to the penalty hereinafter provided.
Dogs may not run at large. Dogs must be restrained. Unrestrained animals may be taken by any officer, impounded in an animal shelter and there confined in a humane manner. Impounded animals shall be kept for not less than seven days unless reclaimed by their owners. If by any means the owner can be readily identified, the Town Constable or other officer shall notify the owner by telephone, mail or personal contact of such impoundment. Animals not claimed by their owners within seven days shall be humanely destroyed or given for adoption by any person or agency delegated by the Town Board to exercise such authority.
An owner reclaiming an impounded animal shall first pay to the Town Clerk, or agent, a reclaiming fee, plus the impounding fees. The first time reclaiming fee will be set by resolution of the Town Board. For the second or additional offenses per year the owner shall pay a fee of twice the first time reclaiming fee plus the impounding fees. The owner shall be subject to all other penalties for violation of this chapter.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection B, if an animal is found at large and its owner can be readily ascertained and located, such animal need not be impounded but may, instead, be taken to the owner. In such cases, however, proceedings shall be taken against the owner for violation of this chapter.
All bite incidents occurring in the Town of St. Joseph in which any animal bites a person or is suspected of biting a person shall be reported within 24 hours to the Animal Control Officer.
Any animal which bites a person shall be quarantined for such time as may be directed by the Town officer. During quarantine the animal shall be securely confined and kept from contact with any other animal. The owner shall surrender the animal for the quarantine period to an animal shelter or shall, at his own expense, place it in a veterinary hospital.
No officer or other person shall kill or cause to be killed any animal suspected of being rabid except in an emergency and where it is clearly necessary to kill such animal(s) to protect the safety of a person, other animals or property and upon probable cause that such animal is rabid. If, after the animal has been placed in quarantine, the diagnosis of rabies is made by a licensed veterinarian, the animal shall be humanely killed and disposed of in a sanitary manner. Nothing in this section which is contrary to the Wisconsin Statutes pertaining to dogs (Chapter 174 or any other section therein) shall apply but shall be void and without effect.
When any pit bull dog or other dog that has been declared dangerous or vicious and that has previously bitten or attacked a person bites or attacks the same or another person in a second incident, that dog must be surrendered to an Animal Control Officer designated by the Town.
If no evidence of rabies is noted, the Animal Control Officer is ordered to impound such animal without release until the Town Board can obtain a court order to euthanize said animal.
The Town Chairperson or two members of the Town Board may from time to time appoint the Animal Control Officer, who must comply with all state or federal licensing or permit requirements. Such person shall have police powers, and no person shall interfere with, hinder or molest him in the exercise of such powers.
[Amended 12-7-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-5]
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter or knowingly aiding or abetting another in the violation thereof, in addition to the penalties hereinbefore prescribed, shall, upon conviction, pay a forfeiture as set by the Town Board of not less than $50 nor more than $500 per animal per incident and the costs and attorney fees in prosecution. If any violation is continuing, each day’s violation shall be deemed a separate violation.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter, or knowingly aiding or abetting another in the violation thereof, for a second or subsequent time, in addition to the penalties hereinbefore prescribed, shall, upon conviction, pay a forfeiture as set by the Town Board of not less than $100 nor more than $500 per animal per incident and the costs and attorney fees in prosecution. If any violation is continuing, each day’s violation shall be deemed a separate violation.
Failure to have provided proper rabies vaccination shall result in forfeiture as set by the Town Board of not less than $100 nor more than $500 per animal per incident and the costs and attorney fees in prosecution. If any violation is continuing, each day’s violation shall be deemed a separate violation.
The amount of forfeiture and costs shall be as set forth in Chapter 6, Citations, and shall be subject to annual review.
Fees. All fees for this chapter shall be set by a separate fee schedule as determined by the Town Board and passed by resolution.