A new "Thrill Kill" bill attempts to close a loophole for folks who hurt or kill wildlife with an off-road vehicle.
Wisconsin's animal cruelty laws don't apply to hunters. The problem is, according to State Representative Andy Jorgensen , there are people who kill animals with their ATV or snowmobile just for fun, and a loophole allows such action to be considered "hunting." So, the Democrat from Fort Atkinson drafted legislation to change that.
"No person may intentionally or recklessly kill or harm any wild animal by harassing or pursuing the wild animal with a motor boat or motor vehicle."
Jorgensen began writing legislation in January, after learning that two Waupaca County men accused of torturing and killing several Whitetail deer by running them down with their snowmobiles, had felony charges against them dismissed. Jorgensen also cites the incident in his district where more than 5 dozen ducks were slaughtered on the Rock River.
"If you don't come forward and you're playing the card that you didn't mean to do it, well, why didn't you come and say that you hit, you know, 50 ducks on the Rock River if you truly didn't mean to do it. Why did we have to come and find you?"
Violators may be given a Class I felony, 3 years probation, a $10,000 fine, revocation of the vehicle registration and operating privileges, and a mental health assessment. Meanwhile, the state Justice Department says it will appeal the dismissals of those felony charges against Robby and Rori Kuenzi (KIHN-zee) of Weyauwega — the two brothers accused of running down those deer 6 months ago.
NOTE: Jorgensen says his constituents had contacted him with their concerns, and he's been reaching out to other lawmakers on both sides of the isle when drafting legislation, he says, after meeting with several District Attorneys throughout the state, law enforcement, the state DNR, off-road vehicle clubs, and conservation clubs.