Shelter News

Welcome to the New DCHS/UW SMP Interns!


The New Interns 19June2017WEB



Please join Dane County Humane Society in welcoming our new UW-DCHS Maddie's Shelter Medicine Interns, Dr. Deborah (Deb) Yannessa and Dr. Olivia Swailes!

Dr. Yannessa grew up in South Jersey and completed her BS in Biology at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania. She Received her DVM from NC State in 2017, and has a strong interest in shelter medicine and in animal welfare in general. Outside of veterinary medicine, her interests/hobbies include running and racing distances up to the marathon, as well as cooking, reading, and listening to podcasts. She currently has one pet - a rabbit named Wilfred.

Dr. Swailes is a proud Michigander and earned her BS in Animal Science at Michigan State University in 2014. She graduated from the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine with her DVM in 2017. Dr. Swailes first became interested in shelter medicine after volunteering in local shelters throughout her undergraduate years, and spent many hours volunteering in the medical department of the humane society during veterinary school. Her other interests, aside from shelter medicine, include large animal medicine, infectious disease outbreak investigation, clinical research, and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. Outside of veterinary medicine, Dr. Swailes enjoys spending time with family, friends, and her rescue Labradors, Ruby and Hazel.


Legislative Hearings AB487 & SB450 – URGENT READ

Public Hearing Notice


AB 487 Treatment of Animals  - Authored by John Spiros (R)


Animals believed to have been involved in crimes against animals, when a stray or abandoned  animal may be considered unclaimed, and a court order relating to an animal taken into or  held in custody


Assembly Committee - Criminal Justice and Public Safety


Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at 1:30 PM

State Capitol Room 300 Northeast


Wisconsin Assembly Bill 487 and the Senate Bill 450 
URGENT! Legislation has been introduced in Wisconsin that will affect the animal sheltering community, the animals it protects, and the multitude of associated constituents which interplay with animals and shelters in the State of Wisconsin.  It is imperative that you review this legislation and take action based on how it will impact you, your organization and the animals we all care about. 
Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies (WFHS) currently takes a neutral position on this legislation, which has been introduced as AB 487 in the Assembly and SB 450 in the Senate. Our mission is to represent all humane organizations, which is why WFHS currently remains neutral. As this legislation may impact some shelters in a positive way and other shelters in a negative way, WFHS seeks to inform you rather than support or object to the proposals. WFHS encourages all shelters to analyze the legislation and its potential effect on their operations. 
One intent of the legislation is to improve the outcome for seized animals (often called "court case animals") in Wisconsin – animals that have been taken into custody as victims of cruelty, hoarding, or animal fighting.  Another primary purpose is to alter the stray-hold period from 7 days to 4 days. While the intention of the legislation is good, WFHS recommends heightened scrutiny by each shelter to determine the potential operational impact of these bills if they were to become law.  How your shelter, rescue, or “stray hold” facility will be affected, if this legislation becomes law, is specific to your operation and how it is financed. What seems simple on the surface may have many unintended adverse, and possibly catastrophic, consequences for your shelter in the long run. WFHS encourages active involvement in the legislative process to ensure that you are heard and that the effect of this legislation on owners, municipalities, district attorneys, corporation counsel, law enforcement, humane officers, courts, and the animals themselves is understood.
There are no easy answers, but there is a lot to consider:  


CURRENT LAW Under State Statute 173 currently and dog over a year old that has been involved in animal fighting MUST be euthanized.AB 487 / SB 450 - The legislation as proposedwould redefine these dogs as “unclaimed animals,” making them available to be euthanized or adopted out  (presumably, when they are no longer needed as evidence).

We must consider: Some see this as good news, as it removes the requirement for any animal over one year in age found to have been involved in an animal fight to be euthanized.  Not all dogs seized from accused dog fighters have been used in training or  fighting; some may be lost or stolen pets gathered to be used as bait dogs, etc.   Many argue that dogs seized from a convicted dog fighter can and should be rehabilitated and have the opportunity for loving pet homes. However, there also could be serious issues with releasing any dogs from a fighting environment to other persons, such as (but not limited to):

1.     Can a former fighting dog ever be completely trustworthy, as they are bred to be aggressive. They have been trained and rewarded for killing other dogs.

2.     Who makes the determination of adoptability? There are no provisions for temperament testing of the dogs by a qualified person before they may be adopted out.

3.     Fighting dogs present unique challenges in rehabilitation, as, in addition to the obvious,  they are trained to certain “triggers” – such as the removal of a collar – which can change them in an instant from a friendly potential family pet to a raging killer.

4.     If the dog is not properly evaluated and is released to an unprepared person or family, the results could be disastrous for everyone involved – with liability issues for the facility that releases the animal.

5.     The dog may be unintentionally released to another dog fighter.

6.     Evaluation and rehabilitation of the animal may present a considerable expense to the shelter or facility, taking time and resources that might better be spent on more easily adoptable animals.



CURRENT LAW: If an animal has allegedly been used in, or is evidence of, a crime related to animals, it can be seized and retained in custody.   If the owner wants the animal returned, a court must determine whether the animal is needed as evidence or if there is reason to believe that the animal has been used in fighting. If so, the animal must be retained in custody.AB 487 / SB 450 - If an animal allegedly has been used in any crime against animals or is evidence of a crime against animals, it must be retained in custody.  However, the animal’s owner has 30 days to petition the court for its return and the court must hold a hearing within 20 days of receiving the application. If the court determines that the animal is not needed as evidence and that there is no reason to believe that it was used in a crime against animals, the animal must be returned to the owner.  However, if the court believes that the animal is needed as evidence or if there is reason to believe that the animal has been used in fighting, it must be retained in custody.The bill also allows the facility that has custody of a seized animal  to demand reasonable payment from the animal's owner for its care, and  treatment every two weeks.   If the owner does not pay in a timely manner, the animal will  be treated as an unclaimed animal.

We must consider:  This provision could result in less expense for the holding facility for housing and care, which could be a significant sum since dog fighting cases take so long to settle.  It would also provide obvious benefits for the animals involved, which wouldn’t have to languish in shelters or holding facilities for months.

However, animals are unique “evidence” and the proposed amendment does not go far enough to address the issue.  Thought should be given to quicker timetables for the adjudication of that issue, coordination between civil and criminal authorities on how to handle this special kind of evidence, what “early on” requirements for the collection of such evidence should be imposed on the owner and prosecutors to enable early collection of the evidence, and temporary placement thereafter in foster care pending final adjudication so as to avoid long-term lock up of animals that could later be redeemed or adopted.



CURRENT LAW:  Sets the “stray hold” time at seven (7) days before an abandoned,  stray, untagged /unlicensed dog, or an animal whose  owner fails to pick it up from a veterinarian is considered “unclaimed”AB 487 / SB 450 - Reduces the “stray hold” period to four days.

We must consider:  Some entities see this reduction in time as very beneficial, as it also reduces expenses of caring for the animal, may get some animals rehomed more quickly, means less “kennel stress,” and may also keep the animal healthier by alleviating overcrowding in shelters.  On the surface, it saves taxpayer dollars.  For details, please see “WHS and MADACC support AB 487/SB 450” at: Some opponents argue that:

1.     Stray holding facilities can include large shelters, small rescues, vet clinics, boarding kennels, police departments, town offices, individual contractors, etc.  There is a huge disparity in funding, staff, expertise, operations methods, and other resources among them.

2.     This provision may cause serious financial hardship for non-profit shelters, which rely on the 7 days of subsidies from municipalities as part of their operating budgets.

3.     There is no established correlation between a shortened stray holding period and a quicker release or adoption of these animals. 

4.     Reducing the stray hold period may not allow enough time to find the owners. Some stray hold facilities do not have the resources to actively advertise or try to find owners.  For more details on this argument, please see:  Lost Dogs of Wisconsin website,

5.     There may be an unintended consequence of a spike in euthanasia rates. Stray hold facilities may opt for euthanasia on day five because they have fulfilled the minimum requirement and lack the resources to keep animals longer without the 7 days of subsidies from the municipalities.  Additionally, there is no requirement in the legislation to keep or report these statistics--making it difficult to impossible to track potential negative outcome for homeless animals.

6.      Shelters may not have the time to adequately acclimate, evaluate and prepare animals for adoption with just four days to do so.

7.     According to DATCP’s “Fiscal Estimate,” costs to local governments who would choose to limit stray hold to 4 days are “indeterminate,” but additional costs could be incurred in dealing with the public including phone calls, emails, and visits by distraught pet owners whose missing pet was euthanized or given away after only four days. 

(See: for the entire fiscal estimate)


CURRENT LAW: A local governmental unit may petition the court for an order regarding an animal in custody, including an order requiring payment or the posting of a bond for the costs of custody, care, and treatment pending the outcome of a proceeding or an order authorizing the sale, destruction, or other disposal of the animal.AB 487 / SB 450 - A person other than a local governmental unit that has custody of an animal, such as a humane society, may  petition the court for such an order.

We must consider:  While it is good that anyone with custody of a seized animal may petition for payments from the owner for care of the animal, it also means that the humane society or shelter will probably have to pick up the costs for filing the petition, and also for an attorney to handle the filing. The cost of hiring an attorney may be prohibitive for some shelters. In the past, humane organizations would, in some cases, get assistance in this area from municipal or county corporation counsels or district attorneys.


CURRENT LAW  defines  an “unclaimed animal” as one that has been  abandoned or astray, an untagged or unlicensed dog, or an animal whose  owner fails to pick it up from a veterinarian.  After a specified holding period, “unclaimed animals” may be adopted out, sold, euthanized, or, if a stray, released for scientific or educational purposes.AB 487 / SB 450 - Does not address the possible outcome of stray dogs or animals to be used for experimentation, vivisection, or outdated "animal labs". 

We must consider:  "Scientific purposes" means animal experimentation. While most humane organizations would not release animals for experimentation, the language included in the bill reinforces that it is a possible outcome. WFHS believes that no pet animal should end up in a research laboratory. Eliminating the possibility could and should be included in changes to the current law.


Additional Resources 

Please use these links for additional information and resources as you consider this important issue:

Bill Text --

Bill History --

Fiscal Estimate --

WI Humane Society --

Lost Dogs of Wisconsin --


In Conclusion:

Piecemeal fixes to a statute that the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has suggested is in need of a complete overhaul may not be the right way to approach public policy.  It would be far more prudent to create a working study group, with all primary constituents at the table,- to discuss how best to address needed changes to Chapter 173. 






The Maggie Fund

This is about a dear little dog who wins hearts — and inspired the creation of The Maggie Fund to benefit small dogs who come tMaggie 1o the Dane County Humane Society shelter with special veterinary needs.


I established the fund at the shelter in June 2014 to honor my beloved Maggie. She’s my first dog ever, a jaunty Papillon.  She’s 14 and I’m nearing 75.  And now other little dogs are benefitting due to this lively 8-pound charmer who grins whenever she sees a camera pointed in her direction.

Maggie 2

By the end of 2014 The Maggie Fund had paid for specialized veterinary treatment for two other dogs — a Chihuahua and a Pomeranian.  Both boys, found as strays with serious injuries, were adopted into good homes. This story started in early 2009 when I decided that after a lifetime with cats, it was time to bring a dog into my home.  Through Web research I located an impressive couple, 300 miles away in Minnesota, who breed and show Papillons.




Maggie 3

Their numbers are small, while their expertise and caring are huge. Maggie was 9 years old then.  She was their favorite dog and they never planned to part with her.  I was gently persistent — I even got my back yard fenced — and they eventually agreed I could visit, but with “no guarantees.” It was mutual love at first sight.  Maggie was the dog who jumped onto the couch and curled up on my lap.  I looked at Karen and she said softly, “She likes you.” Karen and her husband, Myron, were sad as we completed the paperwork, but they sensed that things would be OK.  It seems Maggie had a yearning to be queen of the castle and star of the show!  No need for other dogs.

Maggie 4We’ve kept in close touch since I left with Maggie that day.  And every fall, Myron and Karen drive the 600-mile round trip to visit us for a weekend. We’ve become good friends and always have fun times together. Hopefully The Maggie Fund will help create many happy stories about little dogs and their people.  I’m taking photos of the participants for an official scrapbook. 

By Rosemary Kendrick

    Rosemary was a reporter and copy editor at The Capital Times for 38 years. In addition to Maggie, she has two purebred rescue cats, Fudge and Misty. 

DCHS Annual Membership Meeting


Annual Membership Meeting

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 – 5:30 p.m.


We cordially invite you to attend and participate in Dane County Humane Society’s Annual Membership Meeting, being held Wednesday, June 27, 2018 starting at 5:30 p.m. at the main shelter located at 5132 Voges Road, Madison. 

Last year was an exciting year for DCHS! Join us for highlights from last year, and plans for the future. Dinner will be served.  For each person who has been a DCHS Member since March 27, 2018 or earlier, there will be an opportunity to vote in the election of two members of the DCHS Board of Directors. Your vote plays an important role in shaping the future of Dane County Humane Society.

The Board of Directors is recommending the re-election of Sara Colopy and Shirley Crocker to the two open board seats. 

Voting will be held during the meeting via paper ballot. To vote, you will need to have been a DCHS Member since March 27, 2018 or earlier and you must be present at the meeting.  More information about Dane County Humane Society and our mission can be found here: To expedite check-in, please bring this letter along with you to the meeting.

To help us plan for dinner, kindly RSVP by Wednesday, June 20st by contacting Michelle Livanos, Development & Marketing Coordinator, at or (608) 838-0413 ext. 164. It is not required to RSVP to attend the meeting.  


We look forward to seeing you there.

DRAFT Agenda

Call To Order

Approval of the 2017 Annual Membership Meeting Minutes, held Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Introduction of current Board of Directors.

Election of Directors

-        Introduction of Board Candidate

-        Polling Instructions

-        Opening of Polls

Introduction of DCHS Executive Director and Leadership Team

2017-2018 Updates

      • Joe Goode, Board President
      • Pam McCloud Smith, Executive Director
      • Amy Good, Interim Director of Development & Marketing

Other Business

Break for Buffet Dinner

Recognition of Volunteer and Staff Achievements and Milestones

Announcement of Election Results



UW Shelter Medicine Classes


The 2015 UW Shelter Medicine class schedule is here. These lectures are open to the public and held at the vet school.

Not able to attend in person? The lectures will be broadcasted live during the 12-1pm time slot.  The web recordings will be posted on approximately one week after each lecture.  Discussion sections will not be broadcast or recorded.

Click here for the live webcasts:    







Jan 15th

12-1 pm

Introduction to Shelter Medicine

  1. Sandra Newbury


Jan 22nd

12-1 pm


  1. Sandra Newbury


Jan 29th

12-1 pm

Modeling to Help Understand Shelter Statistics and Sheltering Systems

Roger Haston


Feb 5th

12-1 pm

Dispelling common myths

  1. Cindy Karsten


Feb 12th

12-1 pm

Discussion section



Feb 19th

12-1 pm

Animal Control and Working with Partners in Chicago

Ivan Capifali and Sandra Alfred


Feb 26th

12-1 pm

Million Cat Challenge

  1. Kate Hurley


March 5th  

12-1 pm

Enrichment Training for Shelter Animals

Karen Pryor


March 6th


Shelter demonstration

Karen Pryor


March 12th  

12-1 pm

Discussion Section



MARCH 19th





March 26th

12-1 pm

The Veterinarian’s Role in Reporting Animal Cruelty

  1. Lila Miller


April 2tnd

12-1 pm

Vaccination (HSUS EXPO)

  1. Ron Schultz


April 9th

12-1 pm / 6-8 pm

Play for Life

Aimee Sadler


April 10th


Play for Life Demo in Milwaukee

Aimee Sadler


April 16th





April 23rd





April 30th

12-1 pm

Closing Discussion Section



Total lecture hours offered