WAUSAU, WI (WTAQ) - State law requires a host of specialists to tell authorities about the abuse they see against children and the elderly.
But no such law exists for pet abuse – and that’s something veterinary leaders are trying to change.
The issue has come up in Wausau, where a 20-year-old woman was charged this week with poisoning and killing her boyfriend’s dog after it was treated for earlier injuries.
The Wausau Daily Herald says 39 states – including Wisconsin – do not have laws that require people like veterinarians to report suspected abuse to law enforcement.
Mary Kirlin of the Marathon County Humane Society said she gets several calls a week about suspected animal abuse – and passes the more believable calls on to police. She says pet abuse is more common than people think – and she believes it largely goes unreported.
Wausau veterinarian Karla Sathre says it can be hard to report abuse cases, because many are hard to prove – especially when a pet owner seeks medical treatment. Sathre says Marathon County needs a humane officer, because the police have other things to do.
Wausau police captain Dwayne Dachel told the Daily Herald that pet abuse calls are not frequent to his agency – but all of them are taken seriously.