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Wynn wants to stiffen animal abuse law

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
November 1, 2011
— A state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would stiffen the state law against animal abuse.

Rep. Evan Wynn, R-Whitewater, has unveiled “Casey’s Law,” a bill that would make it possible to charge a person with a felony for pet abuse that results in internal injuries.


The bill is named after a great Pyrenees dog shot with an arrow in May 2010 while walking with his owner along railroad tracks in Lima Township.


Dale A. Moore, 62, rural Milton, shot the dog with an arrow. He later was convicted in Rock County Court of misdemeanor mistreatment of animals, fined and ordered to serve a year of probation.


Casey survived after surgery, but Wynn said he’s learned from Casey’s owners that the dog now has trouble walking, running and jumping because of internal injuries from the arrow.


Wynn, who represents the 43rd Assembly District, said he heard from many who felt Moore’s punishment was too light.


“People felt it was such a severe case, it should have been bumped up,” said Wynn. “Look, if somebody hurts your pet to the point that it can’t jump or walk with its normal gait, it probably qualifies as more than a misdemeanor.”


Under Wynn’s bill, prosecutors could classify an act such as Moore’s as a possible felony with a punishment of up to 32 years in prison, or a fine of $10,000.


Wynn’s bill picks up the thread on a similar bill introduced in August 2010 by Kim Hixson who represented the 43rd Assembly District at the time.


Hixson’s bill sought to create a law that made felony charges possible in cases of unprovoked assaults on pets with a deadly weapon.


Wynn said Hixson’s bill never got past its introduction, probably because it was introduced late in a busy legislative session.


Wynn’s bill differs in that it only adds a section to state statutes covering animal cruelty.


Under current statutes, people can be charged with a felony only if they kill, maim or disfigure a pet. Wynn’s bill would add internal injuries to the list.


The law would apply only to pets, not farm animals or wild animals, and Wynn said it could not be used to target veterinarians, livestock farmers or others who work with animals.


Wynn has caught heat from people irritated by his animal abuse bill because they believe he should instead be working on boosting jobs and the economy.


Wynn, who owns a 10-year-old yellow Labrador, said he feels he’s able to split his efforts between jobs, the economy and other issues.


“I thought this was a common sense issue,” Wynn said. “I try to look at each situation on its own merit. There’s a lot of laws I’d like to change.”



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