Town of Pittsfield, WI
Brown County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Pittsfield 5-13-1997 as §§ 3.601 to 3.621 and 3.900 of the 1997 Code; amended May 2007; July 2007. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Nuisances — See Ch. 179.

§ 21-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ANIMAL
Includes every living:
A. 
Warm-blooded creature, except a human being;
B. 
Reptile; or
C. 
Amphibian.
AT LARGE
Any animal shall be deemed to at large when it is off the property of its owner and not under the control of a competent person.[1]
[2]
A. 
Any dog with a propensity, tendency or disposition to attack, cause injury or otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or other domestic animals as evidenced by its habitual or repeated chasing or snapping, or barking and/or snarling in a threatening manner.
B. 
Any dog which attacks a human being or another domestic animal without provocation.
EXOTIC ANIMAL
Any animal that is not normally domesticated in the United States or is wild by nature.[3]
EXPOSED TO RABIES
An animal has been exposed to rabies within the meaning of this chapter if it has been bitten by, or come in contact with, any animal known to have been infected with rabies.
KENNEL
Any establishment where dogs are kept.
A. 
Any premises as defined in the Town of Pittsfield ordinances on which four or more dogs, over five months or older, are kept or harbored as pets, and not for selling, boarding, showing, treating, grooming, or other commercial purposes.
B. 
Any place where the business of keeping, raising, selling, boarding, breeding, showing, treating, or grooming of dogs and other animals is conducted, including pet shops, animal hospitals, and other similar establishment. Restrictions on commercial kennels shall not apply to farm operations.[4]
NEUTERED MALE DOG
Any male dog which has been operated upon to prevent conception.
OWNER
Any person owning, keeping or harboring an animal.
PERSON
An individual, partnership, firm, joint stock company, corporation, association, trust, estate or other legal entity.[5]
POSSESS
To own, control, restrain, transport or keep.[6]
POUND
Any premises designated by the Town Board for the purpose of impounding and caring for all animals found running at large or in violation of this chapter.
PUBLIC ZOO OR AQUARIUM
A zoo or aquarium that is operated by the state or city or that is an accredited member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.[7]
RESTRAINT
A animal is under restraint within the meaning of this chapter if it is controlled by a leash and obedient to that person's commands on or within the property limits of its owner or keeper.[8]
SPAYED FEMALE DOG
Any female dog which has been operated upon to prevent conception.
VETERINARIAN
A person who is licensed in this state to practice veterinary medicine under Wis. Stats. Chapter 453 and who is certified under rules promulgated by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.[9]
WILD ANIMAL
Any of the following animals, whether bred in the wild or in captivity, and also any of their hybrids with domestic species. The animals listed in parentheses are intended to act as examples and are not to be construed as an exhaustive list or limit the generality of each group of animals, unless otherwise specified.[10]
A. 
Nonhuman primates and prosimians (chimpanzees, monkeys);
B. 
Felids, except domesticated cats;
C. 
Canids (wolf, coyotes, foxes) except domesticated dogs;
D. 
Prairie dogs;
E. 
Elephants;
F. 
Crocodilians (alligators, crocodiles);
G. 
Marsupials (kangaroos, opossums);
H. 
Ungulates (hippopotamus, rhinoceros);
I. 
Hyenas;
J. 
Mustelids (skunks, otters, badgers) except ferrets;
K. 
Procyonids (raccoons, coatis);
L. 
Dasypodidae (anteaters, sloth, armadillos);
M. 
Viverrids (mongooses, civets, genets);
N. 
Poisonous arachnids;
O. 
Class Reptilia.
(1) 
Order Squamata.
(a) 
Family Helodermatidae (Gila monsters and Mexican bearded lizards).
(b) 
Family Varanidae (any monitor which will normally grow over two feet in length).
(c) 
Family Iguanaidae (only green iguanas and rock iguanas).
(d) 
Family Boidae (boa constrictors, pythons).
(e) 
Family Colubridae (boonslangs and African twig snakes).
(f) 
Family Elapidae (coral snakes, cobras, mambas).
(g) 
Family Nactricidae (only keelback snakes).
(h) 
Family Viperidae (copperheads, cottonmouths, rattlesnakes).
(2) 
Any venomous reptilia.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[2]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[3]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[4]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[5]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[6]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[7]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[8]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[9]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[10]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 21-2 Mistreating animals.

No person may treat any animal, whether belonging to the person or another, in a cruel manner. No person shall cruelly treat, inhumanely beat, underfeed, overload, or abandon any animal in the Town. No person shall cause or allow any place where any animal is or may be kept to become unclean or unwholesome.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original Sec. 3.601C, Animals at large, which immediately followed this section, was repealed at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 21-3 Keeping of animals. [1]

A. 
No person shall permit any animal of which he/she is the owner or custodian to be at large within the Town. Any animal is deemed to be at large when it is off the premises owned or leased by its owner unless crated, penned, or under the control of a person able to control the conduct of the animal. Feral/semi-feral cats that are part of an approved TNR (trap-neuter-return) program shall be exempt from this section.
B. 
Unattended dogs shall include those dogs which are crated, penned, or leashed but which are without personal supervision or control sufficient to properly restrain the dog.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 21-4 Noisy animals.

No person shall harbor or keep any animal, bird, or reptile which disturbs the peace by loud noises, including excessive barking by dogs at any time of the day or night.

§ 21-5 Nuisance animals.

A. 
Whereas animals, birds, and reptiles may have propensities to or may otherwise cause noise or odor or perform actions which may disturb persons in the reasonable use and enjoyment of property, or cause annoyance, discomfort or injury to the health or welfare of persons, keeping of any animal, bird, or reptile in conflict with any provision of this chapter is declared to be a public nuisance, and such animal, bird, or reptile may be impounded as provided by law.
B. 
The keeping of any animal, fowl, reptile, mammal, or bird which affects or disturbs the public health, peace, safety or decency is a public nuisance and is prohibited within the Town. No action shall be taken under this section unless and until the Town investigates and it has ascertained that the raising or keeping of a particular animal, fowl, reptile, mammal, or bird within the Town reasonably constitutes a condition which is detrimental to public health, safety, or welfare. For purposes of enforcing this section, any member of the Town Board, Animal Control/Humane Officer, Building Inspector, or other peace officer may enter any premises for the purpose of inspection. Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be notified by the Town of the determination that a public nuisance exists on his/her premises. Each day that the condition continues after notification by the Town shall be considered a separate violation of this section.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 21-6 Kennels; dog licenses.

A. 
Kennels.
(1) 
Commercial kennel license. Every person operating a commercial kennel shall annually obtain from the Town Treasurer, upon authorization by the Town Board, a commercial kennel license. Commercial kennel licenses shall be posted in a conspicuous place within the licensed premises. All commercial kennels are subject to inspection by the Town Board representative.
(2) 
Private kennel license. Every person operating or maintaining a private kennel shall annually obtain from the Town Treasurer, upon authorization by the Town Board, a private kennel license.
(3) 
All fees will be established by the Town Board and shall be paid to the Town Treasurer. Kennel license fee is per the Town Fee Schedule.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The Fee Schedule is on file in the Town offices.
(4) 
Licenses can be reviewed and revoked or denied by the Town Board upon complaint of nuisance.
B. 
General provisions governing kennels. The following provisions shall apply to all kennels located in the Town of Pittsfield as either a permitted or conditional use:
(1) 
All kennels shall provide adequate indoor housing for 100% capacity of animals kept on the premises. Such housing shall be adequately ventilated, cooled and heated to provide a year-round quality living environment for the animals kept on the property. The adequacy of the ventilation, cooling, and heating required shall be dependent on the breed of animal that is kept on the premises. In the case of multiple breeds, the facility may require sectioning to provide differing provisions of ventilation, cooling and heating.
(2) 
No animals shall be kept in any outdoor commercial facility between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
(3) 
All outdoor facilities shall be maintained to provide a clean, sanitary environment for the animals being kept and to prevent odor from leaving the property and eliminate odors as much as possible on site.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
(4) 
All kennels shall operate in full compliance with Chapter 174, Dogs, of the Wisconsin Statutes and the standards of care outlined in Wisconsin 2009 Act 90, § 173.41.[3]
[3]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
C. 
Regulation and licensing of dogs required.
(1) 
It shall be unlawful for any person in the Town of Pittsfield to own, harbor, or keep any dog more than five months of age without complying with the provisions of § 174.05, Wis. Stats., relating to the listing, licensing, and tagging of the same. There is hereby imposed a dog license fee, payable to the Town Treasurer, which includes a dog license tax imposed under § 174.05(2) and (3), Wis. Stats. An annual dog license fee as outlined in the Town Fee Schedule shall be paid for the following:[4]
(a) 
Each spayed or neutered dog.
(b) 
Each non-spayed or non-neutered dog.
[4]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
(2) 
Late fees. The Town Treasurer shall assess and collect a late fee as outlined in the Fee Schedule from every owner of a dog five months of age or older if the owner failed to obtain a license prior to April 1 of each year or within 30 days of acquiring ownership of a licensable dog or if the owner failed to obtain a license on or before the dog reached licensable age.[5]
[5]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
(3) 
Lost license tag. In the event that a license tag issued for a dog shall be lost, the owner may obtain a duplicate tag from the Town Treasurer upon the payment as outlined in the Fee Schedule.[6]
[6]
Editor's Note: The Fee Schedule is on file in the Town offices.
(4) 
Change of ownership. If there is a change of ownership of a licensed dog or kennel during the license year, the new owner may have the current license transferred to his/her name upon the payment of a transfer fee as outlined in the Fee Schedule.
(5) 
Transfer prohibited. No person shall use for any animal a license receipt or license tag issued for another animal.
(6) 
Kennel license option. The owners of kennels pay a license fee, as outlined in the Fee Schedule, per kennel of 12 dogs or less and additional fees in accordance with Subsection A of this section. The Town Treasurer shall issue tags for each dog owned by the kennel owner, as provided in § 174.053, Wis. Stats.

§ 21-7 Prohibited possession of exotic or wild animals. [1]

A. 
Intent and purpose. The Town Board of the Town of Pittsfield hereby finds that wild animals are inherently dangerous and do not adjust to captive environment. It is the intent of the Town Board to protect the public against health and safety risks that wild animals pose and hereby prohibit the possession of wild animals within the Town of Pittsfield.
B. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to possess, sell or purchase an exotic or wild animal.
C. 
Exceptions. The following persons or entities may possess exotic or wild animals:
(1) 
A veterinarian, for the purpose of providing medical treatment to wild animals.
(2) 
A public zoo or aquarium.
(3) 
A person authorized by the Department of Natural Resources, who is keeping an animal on a temporary basis for rehabilitation and is part of a licensed rehabilitation program (i.e., RPAWS at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary).
(4) 
Any person possessing an exotic animal under one of the listed exceptions will obtain a permit from the Town and be subject to inspection at any time without notice by the Town of Pittsfield Animal Control/Humane Officer or the Sheriff's Department.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Original Sec. 3-608, Dognapping and catnapping, Sec. 3.609, Decompression prohibited, Sec. 3.610, Leading animal from motor vehicle, Sec. 3.611, Transportation of animals, Sec. 3.612, Use of poisonous and controlled substances, Sec. 3.613, Shooting at caged or staked animals, Sec. 3.614, Sale of baby rabbits, chicks and other fowl, Sec. 3.615, Artificially colored animals; sale, Sec. 3.616, Providing proper food and drink to confined animals, and Sec. 3.617, Providing proper shelter, which immediately followed this section, were repealed at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 21-8 Dangerous animals.

Members of the Brown County Sheriff's Department, the Town Animal Control/Humane Officer, and any peace officer in the Town are authorized to kill any animal, bird, or reptile when it is necessary to protect persons or property from physical damage or to prevent the communication or spread of infection or disease.

§ 21-9 Biting animals. [1]

Any incident occurring in the Town where any animal bites a person or is suspected of biting a person shall be immediately reported to the Town Board, Sheriff's Department, County Health Officer, or Animal Control/Humane Officer by any person having knowledge of such incident and the following procedure shall be followed:
A. 
Any animal which bites a person in the Town, if it can be found, or any animal which is customarily kept within the Town and which bites a person, shall be quarantined for a period of 10 days from the day of the bite for the purpose of observation for the possibility of rabies. Such quarantine shall be effected as directed by the County Health Officer or Animal Control/Humane Officer and may be:
(1) 
Confinement of the animal to a structure or enclosure which is adequate to constrain the animal on the premises of the owner or agency.
(2) 
Confinement of the animal with a licensed veterinarian.
(3) 
Confinement of the animal at a boarding facility approved by the Town Board. Costs of boarding shall be at the owner's expense.
B. 
No animal which is known or suspected to have bitten a person shall be destroyed until after the ten-day quarantine period has elapsed, unless it cannot be apprehended safely, in which case the destruction shall be accomplished without damage to the head of the animal, if possible. The County Health Officer or Animal Control/Humane Officer shall be immediately notified of such destruction of the animal, and the dead animal shall not be disposed of until such specimens as the County Health Officer or Animal Control/Humane Officer shall direct have been obtained, and permission is given by him/her to dispose of the dead animal.
C. 
In case an animal which has been quarantined in accordance with section dies for any reason during the quarantine period, the person having custody of the animal shall immediately notify the County Health Officer or Animal Control/Humane Officer as required in this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 21-10 Keeping of dangerous/potentially dangerous dogs (D/PD) regulated. [1]

A. 
Requirements and prohibitions.
(1) 
Leash and muzzle. No person owning, harboring or having the care of a D/PD dog may suffer or permit such dog to go outside its kennel or pen unless the dog is securely leashed with a leash no longer than six feet in length. No person may permit a D/PD dog to be kept on a chain, rope or other type of leash outside its kennel or pen unless a person is in physical control of the leash. The dog may not be leashed to inanimate objects such as trees, posts and buildings. A D/PD dog on a leash outside the dog's kennel shall be muzzled by a muzzling device sufficient to prevent the dog from biting persons or other animals. A D/PD dog shall not be required to be muzzled when shown either in a sanctioned American Kennel Club show or upon prior approval of the Animal Control/Humane Officer.
(2) 
Confinement. All D/PD dogs shall be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or kennel, except when leashed and muzzled as provided in Subsection A above. The pen, kennel or structure shall have secure sides and a secure top attached to all sides. A structure used to confine a D/PD dog shall be locked with a key or combination lock when the dog is within the structure. The structure shall have a secure bottom or floor attached to the sides of the pen, or the sides of the pen must be embedded in the ground no less than two feet. All structures erected to house D/PD dogs shall comply with all zoning and building regulations of the Village. All structures shall be adequately lighted and ventilated and kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
(3) 
Confinement indoors. No D/PD dog may kept on a porch, patio or in any part of a house or structure that would allow the dog to exit the building on its volition. No D/PD dog may be kept in a house or structure when the windows are open or when screen windows or screen doors are the only obstacle preventing the dog from exiting the structure.
(4) 
Prohibited in multiple-family dwellings. No D/PD dog may be kept within any portion of any multiple-family building.
(5) 
Signs. All owners, keepers or harborer of D/PD dogs shall, within 15 days of the effective date of this section, display in a prominent place on their premises a sign easily readable by the public using the words "Beware of Dog." A similar sign is required to be posted on the kennel or pen of the dog.
(6) 
Insurance. All owners, keepers or harborer of D/PD dogs shall, with 30 days of the effective date of this section, provide proof to the Animal Control/Humane Officer of public liability insurance in a single incident amount of $1,000,000 for bodily injury to or death of any person or for the damage to property owned by any person which may result from the from the ownership, keeping or maintenance of D/PD dogs. The insurance policy shall provide that no cancellation of the policy will be made unless a ten-day written notice is first given to the Animal Control/Humane Officer. The owner or custodian of the dog shall produce evidence of the required insurance upon request of a law enforcement officer. This subsection does not apply to dogs kept by law enforcement agencies.
B. 
D/PD determination. The Animal Control/Humane Officer shall investigate every dog complaint and make a determination as to whether or not such dog is "D/PD," as defined in § 21-1. In the event the Animal Control/Humane Officer makes a determination that a dog is "D/PD," he/she shall so inform the owner, keeper or harborer of such dog and provide such person with a copy of this section.
C. 
Appeal of D/PD dog determination. Any person aggrieved by the determination of the Animal Control/Humane Officer, as provided in Subsection B above, may appeal such determination by submitting a written appeal to the Town of Pittsfield Town Board.
D. 
Compliance. Within 10 days of the determination that a dog is D/PD, as provided in Subsection B, the owner of a D/PD dog shall either comply with all provisions of this section or dispose of such dog, or the owner shall comply awaiting appeal.
E. 
Disposition of D/PD dogs. Any D/PD dog which attacks a human being or domestic animal may be ordered destroyed by a police officer or humane officer when, in the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction, the dog represents a continuing threat of serious harm to human beings or domestic animals.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 21-11 Enforcement authority.

The Town Animal Control/Humane Officer, County Health Officer, or any police officer shall have authority to enforce the provisions of this chapter, including but not limited to seizing any animal which the above officer reasonably believes has been taken, employed, used, or possessed in violation of this chapter.

§ 21-12 Disposition of seized animals.

Any seized animal under this chapter shall be held by the Town Animal Control/Humane Officer, County Health Officer, or other police officer until that animal is identified as to genus and species in order to ascertain if the animal is an endangered species under § 29.604, Wis. Stats.

§ 21-13 Keeping of chickens. [1]

Chickens may be raised in R-1, R-1S and R-2 Zoning Districts under the restrictions in this section. Chickens are permitted without the restrictions outlined in this section in the A-1 and AG-FP Zones. Chickens are not permitted in any other zoning district.
A. 
Maximum number of chickens allowed per lot:
(1) 
Two acres or greater: 12 chickens.
(2) 
Less than two acres: eight chickens.
(3) 
Less than one acre: four chickens.
B. 
No roosters shall be kept.
C. 
Lot must be in single-family use.
D. 
The chickens are raised on the property of the owner. If the current resident is a tenant, the tenant must have written permission of the owner.
E. 
It is the owner's responsibility to be in compliance with any restrictive covenant in place for his subdivision.
F. 
The chickens shall be kept humanely contained at all times in accordance with Town ordinances and Wisconsin Statutes.
G. 
The chickens shall be provided with a covered, water-resistant coop and a fenced run.
H. 
The coop shall be located at least 15 feet from a lot line and shall not be located in a front yard.
I. 
The coop shall be cleaned regularly to ensure a healthy and odor-free environment with waste contained in sealed container.
J. 
No chickens over eight weeks of age may be kept in a primary structure.
K. 
The slaughtering of chickens is allowed only in an enclosed structure.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 21-14 State statutes adopted by reference. [1]

In addition to the above, the Town of Pittsfield adopts by reference the following state statutes:
A. 
Section 95.21.
B. 
Chapter 173.
C. 
Chapter 174.
D. 
Chapter 951.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 21-15 Violations and penalties.

A. 
If the court finds that an animal has been taken, employed, used or possessed in violation of this chapter, the costs of holding the animal and any costs incurred in identifying the animal shall be assessable to the defendant.
B. 
In addition, any person, firm or corporation shall be subject to a forfeiture of at least $75 or not more than $1,000. In addition, the person shall be responsible for the costs of prosecution, and in default of payment of such forfeiture and costs of prosecution he/she may be imprisoned in the county jail until said costs and forfeiture are paid, but not to exceed 90 days for each offense. In addition, for violations regarding prohibited animals, any person, firm, or corporation found in violation of this chapter shall forfeit the prohibited animal as the court deems proper. Prior to such forfeiture, the County Health Officer, Town Animal Control/Humane Officer, or other police officer may direct a transfer of the animal to a qualified zoological or educational institution or qualified propagator for safe keeping, with the costs assessable to the defendant. Each day of continuing violation shall constitute a separate offense.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).