Statutes and Rules
The following section provides brief summaries of and links to Wisconsin Animal Welfare laws (enforced by law enforcement) and rules (enforced by the Wisconsin Department of Trade Agriculture and Consumer Protection). Select information about relevant federal laws are also included here.
This information in this section is organized by three topic areas:
Abuse, neglect, and dead animals.
Movement and transportation of animals.
Animal buyers and sellers; licensing.
Keep in mind that local animal welfare ordinances also may apply and will vary by community.
For additional information about anything in this section, contact the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection’s Animal Welfare Programs Manager, Dr. Yvonne Bellay (608-224-4888 or Yvonne.Bellay@wisconsin.gov).
Abuse, Neglect, and Dead Animals
Chapter 951 – Crimes Against Animals (State Statute)
Covers an extensive range of topics related to the proper and improper treatment of animals in Wisconsin, and outlines possible penalties.
Chapter 173 – Animals, Humane Officers (State Statute)
Outlines the process for becoming a humane officer in Wisconsin; defines powers and duties associated with this role.
Animal Welfare Act (Federal Law)
Governs the transportation, sale and handling of certain animals. The AWA applies to dealers who sell animals to laboratories, animal exhibitors, carriers, and intermediate handlers, dog and cat breeders, commercial dog sellers, zoos, circuses, roadside menageries, and transporters of animals. It does not apply to retail pet stores, state and county fairs, livestock shows, rodeos, purebred dog and cat shows, and fairs or exhibitions intended to advance agricultural arts and sciences.
The AWA specifies that an equine who meets one or more of the following conditions may not be transported to slaughter: blind in both eyes; unable to walk unassisted; unable to bear weight on four limbs; three legged; a foal under six months of age or a pregnant mare likely to foal during transport. Also, horses being transported to slaughter may not be transported in a double decker trailer.
The AWA is enforced by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS; http://www.aphis.usda.gov/), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture. APHIS asks that all inquiries and complaints be directed to their Eastern Regional Office (919-855-7100; Unit #3040, 920 Main Campus Drive., Suite 200, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27606).
Movement and Transportation of Animals
Chapter 169 – Captive Wildlife (State Statute)
Addresses issues relating to captive wildlife in Wisconsin, including sale, propagation, taking, exhibition, rehabilitation, and more.
Chapter 95 – Animal Health (State Statute)
Covers a wide range of topics including those related to disease, slaughter, feed lots, dealers and truckers, rabies control, and much more.
Chapter 95.50 — Transportation and Disposal of Dead Animals (State Statute)
Describes the legally acceptable methods of large animal carcass disposal. IMPORTANT NOTE: By law carcasses must be properly disposed of within 24 hours from April through November and within 48 hours from December through March.
Administrative Rules Affecting Movement and Transport of Animals
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection enforces administrative rules, not law enforcement. If you are law enforcement and you suspect a rules violation, contact Dr. Yvonne Bellay at 608-224-4888 or Yvonne.Bellay@wisconsin.gov.
ATCP, Chapter 10-17 (Administrative Rule)
This section of Wisconsin’s administration code covers issues related to animal diseases and movement; animal markets, dealers, and truckers; local rabies control programs; livestock branding; humane officer training and certification; dog sellers and facility operators; and livestock premises regulation. Below we highlight several elements of this section that may be especially relevant when dealing with equines.
ATCP, Chapter 10 – Animal Diseases and Movement (Administrative Rule)
Summary: This section of Wisconsin’s administration code covers issues related to animal diseases and movement; animal markets, dealers, and truckers; local rabies control programs; livestock branding; humane officer training and certification; dog sellers and facility operators; and livestock premises regulation. See also Chapter 95.
ATCP Chapter 10.07 — Imports (Administrative Rule)
Outlines requirements for importing animals into the state of Wisconsin.
For equine-specific import requirements, see: http://datcp.wi.gov/Animals/Animal_Movement/Horses/index.aspx
All equines are required to have a current EIA (test for Coggins disease) whenever the animal changes owners, or is taken to a public event or imported into the State of Wisconsin. A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) is required for importing or exporting equines. Read rules for any exemptions. Contact DATCP Animal Health office at 608-224-4889 with questions. See also Chapter 95.
ATCP Chapter 12–Truckers, Dealers, Markets (Administrative Rule)
“Trading in livestock or wild animals” means the trading, buying, selling or swapping of wild animals and may be required to obtain a license through DATCP Animal Health. These people are using their vehicles in a business and are commercial and require signage. Check with Animal Health to see if a license is required; 608-224-4889. See also Chapter 95.
Animals Buyers and Sellers; Licensing
In Wisconsin “livestock” includes all equines, so the following links may be useful:
Livestock Premises Registration
Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium
Livestock Truckers, Markets, and Dealers