2019 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 174. Dogs.
174.001 Definitions.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 174.001 (2019)

174.001 Definitions. As used in this chapter, unless the context indicates otherwise:

(1) “Collar" means a band, strip or chain placed around the neck of a dog.

(2) “Department" means the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection.

(2g) “Domestic animal" includes livestock, dogs and cats.

(2j) “Intergovernmental commission" means an intergovernmental commission formed by contract under s. 66.0301 (2) by all of the municipalities in a county with a population of 750,000 or more for the purpose of providing animal control services.

(3) “Livestock" means any horse, bovine, sheep, goat, pig, llama, alpaca, domestic rabbit, farm-raised deer, as defined in s. 95.001 (1) (ag), or domestic fowl, including any farm-raised game bird, as defined in s. 169.01 (12m).

(4) “Officer" has the meaning designated under s. 95.21 (1) (b).

(5) “Owner" includes any person who owns, harbors or keeps a dog.

History: 1979 c. 289 ss. 8m, 17; 1983 a. 451; 1995 a. 79, 316; 1997 a. 35; 2001 a. 16, 56; 2003 a. 133; 2017 a. 207 s. 5.

The casual presence of a dog on someone's property does not make that person a “keeper." “Harboring" a dog means to afford it lodging, to shelter it, or give it refuge; it does not include the transient presence in one's home of another's dog. Pattermann v. Pattermann, 173 Wis. 2d 143, 496 N.W.2d 613 (Ct. App. 1992).

There is a distinction between “keeping" and “harboring." Keeping generally requires exercising some measure of care, custody, or control over the dog, while harboring is often defined as sheltering or giving refuge to a dog. Thus, harboring lacks the proprietary aspect of keeping. However, the concepts of “harbor" and “keep" are similar, and the liability of one who harbors a dog and one who keeps a dog is the same. Pawlowski v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. 2009 WI 105, 322 Wis. 2d 21, 777 N.W.2d 67, 07-2651.

The relevant consideration in deciding a question of “harboring" is whether the owner of the home knowingly afforded lodging and shelter to the dog. That an owner resided in a separate home from the dog and was not in a convenient position to and in fact did not exercise custody or control over or care for the dog, would be most relevant if the issue was whether the owner was a “keeper" of the dog, but not a harborer. Augsburger v. Homestead Mutual Insurance Company, 2013 WI App 106, 350 Wis. 2d 486, 838 N.W.2d 88, 12-0641.

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