|Legislation introduced by Wisconsin State Senator Jeff Smith is the latest effort from animal-activist groups to outright ban keeping dogs outside at any time. Senate Bill 675 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions where it awaits a hearing.
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Take Action Today! Wisconsin sportsmen should call their state senators and ask them to OPPOSE Senate Bill 675. Wisconsin members can contact their senator by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Directory.
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SB 675 requires that no dog can be left outside unless it has access to a shelter built to specific standards. The shelter must rest on a flat, solid floor that is at least four inches high and must provide enough room for the dog to stand, sit, turn around or lie flat. It would also require that the shelter have a flap covering the entrance, be weatherproof and shaded from direct sunlight. Based on this new language you would have to meet ALL of the shelter design requirements regardless of the weather to keep a dog outside for any length of time. Practically all dog houses for sale in Walmart today would be considered unlawful based on these specifications.
The tethering restrictions in SB 675 state that a tether cannot weigh more than 15 percent of a dog’s body weight and must be longer than 12 feet or 4 times the length of the dog. Sportsmen with multiple dogs would not be allowed to tether their dogs within three feet of one another. Tethering would be completely prohibited anytime the owner is not on or near the property.
The bottom line is: sportsmen rely on commonsense outdoor tethering and sheltering practices to acclimate their dogs to the weather conditions they will likely face in the field. This legislation prevents that from occurring and could actually endanger the health of hunting dogs that are not prepared for colder temperatures common during hunting season.
Sportsmen would be subjected to fines up $500 for a first violation of the sheltering or tethering guidelines and any subsequent infractions would subject a person to a Class A misdemeanor and a fine up to $10,000.
“Laws like these need to be based on the health of the dog rather than a list of arbitrary specifics that defy common sense,” said Jacob Hupp, associate director of state services at the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “For example, SB 675 would prohibit keeping a dog outside on a 65-degree day unless it has access to a shelter. The tethering requirements wouldn’t even allow dogs to have social interactions with each other. Instead of creating an overly specific list of prohibitions, we need well trained officers who can spot neglect and enforce existing laws.”