Animal cruelty is against the law in Wisconsin: Tips for reporting suspected violators…

Wisconsin wolf Advocates here’s what to do when you find videos on Facebook of suspected violations of animal cruelty…

First, know that Wolves in Wisconsin are protected on the Endangered Species List. They cannot be hunted. Next, Wisconsin law protects Wildlife under the Wisconsin Animal Cruelty Laws.

History on Animal Cruelty Laws in Wisconsin

Animal Cruelty Includes Wild Animals …Two men who ran over wild deer with snowmobiles can be prosecuted under the state’s animal cruelty statute.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals on Feb. 24 reversed the circuit court, which concluded that the statute does not apply to non-captive wild animals.

In January 2009, Rory and Robby Kuenzi were charged with five counts of mistreatment of animals under sec. 951.02. The complaint alleged that the Kuenzis, while operating snowmobiles in Waupaca County, came upon a herd of wild deer in a field and struck and ran over several of the deer. Four were killed and a fifth had to be euthanized.

The circuit court dismissed the charges, and the State appealed. In an opinion by Judge Paul Lundsten, the Court of Appeals reversed.

The statute provides, “No person may treat any animal, whether belonging to the person or another, in a cruel manner. This section does not prohibit bona fide experiments carried on for scientific research or normal and accepted veterinary practices.”

The definition of “animal” in sec. 951.01(1) includes all warm-blooded creatures.

The Kuenzis argued that sec. 951.02 does not apply to wild animals, because Chapters 169 and 29 regulate captive wild animals and non-captive wild animals, respectively. Those chapters provide the exclusive laws governing those categories of animals, the Kuenzis argued.

Does the animal cruelty statute, sec. 951.02, apply to non-captive wild animals? Yes. There is no inconsistency in having specific prohibitions directed at domesticated and captive wild animals and also a general prohibition on cruelty to all animals.Read more here.

I spoke with WI DNR Chief Warden Law Enforcement Todd A Schaller and he recommended the following action when you find any videos of suspected animal cruelty on wild animals:

Do not post the video online: Chief Schaller doesn’t recommend posting the video online as that would tip off the violator to remove the evidence from their profile.

If you find a video online where a hunter is pushing his dogs to attack a cornered animal please follow these instructions.

First, Take a screen shot of the profile page that includes name and immediately call WI DNR Violation Tip Line Call or text 1-800-847-9367

Submit a violation report online

Helpful information when reporting a violation that is discovered via social media

• Where did the post, picture, video, or information originate from?

• Include the URL encoding?

• Include only one post, picture or video per complaint?

• What is the suspected violation?

• What information exists that show the potential violation occurred in Wisconsin?

Do not post the video online: Chief Schaller doesn’t recommend posting the video online as that would tip off the violator to remove the evidence from their profile.

The, WI DNR Conservation Wardens will investigate the tip. Wardens are trained law enforcement officers and have the experience and knowledge to track down any illegal killings of wildlife and any suspected violations of Wisconsin’s animal cruelty laws.

Meet Chief Schaller in the following video…

Lastly, turn the suspected violations over to WI DNR Wardens as recommended by Chief Warden Schaller.

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Featured image John E Marriott

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