MILWAUKEE -- It is a bill that could save lives. Proposed legislation would protect animals from long stays in local animal shelters, which would in turn help save lives and taxpayer dollars.
"Our stray hold is one of the longest in the country," Karen Sparapani, executive director of the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) Said.
Sparapani supports the proposed bill, recently introduced in Madison by Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield) said.
"An animal will sit here for eight full days and on day nine we are able to adopt it out, transfer it to another facility, Sparapani said.
Sparapani says the measure would shorten that time for forced holds.
The bill would prevent seized animals from being confined indefinitely as evidence while court cases are resolved. It would also reduce Wisconsin's stray hold from seven to four days -- allowing these animals to be adopted out or place in another facility, which gives them a better prognosis.
"If cat comes in -- by day six, seven, eight, they can start to show signs of upper respiratory illness. Animals die because they get sick. They get sick because of overcrowded conditions and overcrowded conditions are caused by long holds," Sparapani said.
Because shelters are built for short-term housing, a long time in the shelter can take its toll.
"The cats basically have room to sit, use the litter box, and eat -- so they get stressed out immediately. If they have any latent illness, those come to surface immediately just because their immune system is plummeting because of the stress," Sparapani said.
"I still remain very hopeful (this bill) is going to pass," Sparapani said.
MADACC officials urge members of the community to help support this bill -- and reach out to their legislator with a call and/or letter.
The group "Lost Dogs of Wisconsin" has some concerns with the bill, because it combines the issues of lost pets with seized animals. On its website, the group says improving the outcome for seized dogs is a good thing -- but the group says that's a separate issue, and Lost Dogs of Wisconsin officials fear a shorter holding period will prevent pet owners from being reunited with lost animals.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the bill, what to say to your legislators, and how to contact them.
CLICK HERE to learn more about MADACC and the animals available for adoption.