It seems as though every time someone reads through this budget bill, another horrific thing is uncovered and that one worse than the last. I am not exactly sure exactly how Walker intends to save our budget with THIS little gem, but I would like to share with you some of the bill that I think make you as sick as it made me. I'll post what I understand of it afterward, and if I am misinformed or I am misreading the language, feel free to correct me.
(VIA Penny Smith on FB who has a lovely picture of a penny as her profile pic)
This is not part of the Budget Repair Bill. It's in the 'new' budget for a slight modification - Adding UW-Madison as a separate entity from the UW System. This provision is already in the statutes.
SECTION 2704. 174.13 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
174.13 (2) Any officer or pound which has custody of an unclaimed dog may release the dog to the University of Wisconsin System, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the Medical College of Wisconsin, Inc., or to any other educational institution of higher learning chartered under the laws of the state and accredited to the University of Wisconsin System or University of Wisconsin–Madison, upon requisition by the institution. The requisition shall be in writing, shall bear the signature of an authorized agent, and shall state that the dog is requisitioned for scientific or educational purposes. If a requisition is made for a greater number of dogs than is available at a given time, the officer or pound may supply those immediately available and may withhold from other disposition all unclaimed dogs coming into the officer’s or pound’s custody until the requisition is fully discharged, excluding impounded dogs as to which ownership is established within a reasonable period. A dog left by its owner for disposition is not considered an unclaimed dog under this section. If operated by a county, city, village or town, the officer or pound is entitled to the payment of $1 for each dog requisitioned.
Let me start by saying that I am not opposed to using animal cadavers for scientific research. I worked at a Humane Society, and when feral cats or those too sick to live were euthanized, their bodies were frozen and then later sold to various places for scientific purposes. These were all held for the required ten day period, and none were claimed, but I stress that they were feral or sick.
Let me explain what I can gather from this;
Firstly, it says that any officer or pound may release the dog to the system. You may be wondering why it says "Officer" specifically. Not all townships use humane societies or shelters for holding purposes. They would rather hold the dogs themselves than pay the cost to a shelter to hold the dog. Why is this a problem? Not all police officers call shelters when they have picked up a dog to give its description, and not all owners know that the pounds aren't involved in picking up their dog so they don't know to call the police when their dog is missing.
Secondly, the exchange will be in writing, basically stating the dog is to be used for medical or scientific purposes.
Thirdly, let's say the medical institute asks for ten more dogs. The pound or officer may supply those immediately. Which means that as long as they have been held for ten full days, even if they are the nicest pit bull in the world, they can be euthanized immediately and their bodies sold to science. Because, let's be honest, the pit bulls will go first. A pound or officer would be within their legal rights to destroy a dog just to sell it. No where in the language does it say the dog must be euthanized first.
Okay, there are obviously limitations with this, right? Here are those limitations; The dog must be held for the required time, this would be at the discretion of local statutes of holding periods for animals. Some places require as little as three days, some as many as ten. If the owner of the dogs is established, they can't destroy it for science within a reasonable period. What does that mean? Well, in some instances, a dog's owner cannot come up with the money to pay impound fees, and the fees just stack each day. If the pound or officer decides it has been beyond that "reasonable period", they can destroy the dog for science. Next, "a dog left by its owner for disposition" can't be used in this instance. That would most likely be a seized animal to be used as evidence in a dog-fighting trial, a biter on Bite Hold, or a dangerous dog. (I am sure there are a couple instances I have missed, if anyone would like to add.)
So here's where it gets weird, and apparently relevant to the budget crisis. Whichever institution sells the dog is entitled to ONE DOLLAR. One. One dollar at a time to save our state. Well done, Walker. You're a sick man.