Bill would shorten shelter time before animals adopted, euthanized

Bill would shorten shelter time before animals adopted, euthanized

Stray animals would be held by shelters for less time under a bill discussed at the state Capitol Wednesday.

The bill proposed by Rep. John Spiros, R-Marshfield, aims to change the process that requires shelters to hold animals that may have been involved in crimes. It also would change the amount of time stray animals picked up by shelters would be required to hold them.

Current law says shelters must hold an animal for seven days before it places the animal for adoption. The bill would shorten that time to four days.

Spiros said a shorter hold time may alleviate overcrowding and help a pet get adopted quicker.

Underdog Pet Rescue of Wisconsin tries to ease overcrowding by taking pets after a shelter hold expires and placing them in foster homes until adoption.

“When the animals come to us, they might have been pretty well-adjusted when they enter the shelter, but it’s like going to jail for no reason a lot of times for these animals,” Underdog Executive Director Lauren Wojtasiak said. “They’re safe and off the street. They have shelter and food, and the staff at shelters are great, but it’s really stressful.”

Wojtasiak said she believes dogs may have fewer medical issues and would be more likely to be adopted sooner with a shorter stray hold.

But some animal groups, including Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, are concerned that shortening the hold time would not allow some pet owners who lose their dogs enough time to find them.

The Dane County Humane Society is remaining neutral on the bill. The Wisconsin Humane Society is supporting the measure.