Convicted felons could soon be prohibited from owning or possessing a vicious dog.
Proposed legislation at the Capitol would make it illegal for violent felons to possess a dog that has been deemed vicious. State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), the sponsor of the bill, says it would treat possession of a violent dog as similar to a felon possessing a firearm.
Hansen says the bill is in response to concerns about a growing trend of convicted criminals using violent animals for protection, since they can't legally own a gun. He says Green Bay police brought the problem to his attention, because they were frequently entering homes to make an arrest and facing a vicious dog in the process.
Local animal control officials would determine whether a dog is considered vicious. Hansen says the bill provides a wide variety of penalties, ranging from a misdemeanor up to a felony if the dog injures a police officer.
The bill passed out of a legislative committee and now heads to the Senate floor.