Bill Targets Felons in Possession of a Dog
Jan 16, 2007 05:30 PM CST
Wisconsin could soon become one of the first states to consider some dogs as dangerous as guns. A state lawmaker wants to keep certain convicted felons from owning certain dogs.
This was an unprecedented proposal until just a couple weeks ago when Illinois put a similar law into effect.
The Illinois law stems from incidents similar to one Green Bay police faced a couple years ago when they had to shoot one of two dogs inside a house while making a drug bust.
And police say it's something they're running into far too often now. They say since convicted felons can't own guns, many keep dogs as protection instead.
"Guns are dangerous in felons' hands. There's a reason they took it away: They don't want that with a possibility of injuring. So why do you give them a dog that's ready to take out somebody's face if they walk in the yard, if they walk in the door? Again, it's a weapon. They use them as a weapon," Green Bay's humane officer, Sharon Hensen, said.
A proposal by Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) would apply to felons convicted of serious crimes, like homicide, sexual assault, or armed burglary. They wouldn't be able to keep dogs that are identified as "vicious" or dogs that haven't been spayed or neutered. There would be serious penalties, including jail time, if they're caught owning one of those dogs.
"This is not only public safety for the public officers but also for the public at large," Senator Hansen said, "because if
these dogs are let go by a serious felon or a violent felon, there could be some real harm here."
Hansen is still building support for the bill he's pushing down in Madison, but he thinks lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will go for it.