Mar 1, 2012 - Animal Policy    3 Comments

Cooler Heads Prevailing in Wausau?

James and Melissa Lecker moved to Wausau, Wisconsin with their four dogs, unaware of the fact that they had two more pets than the city allowed. In late January, the young family learned that to come into compliance, they faced a stark choice: give up two of their dogs — family members, really — or pay a $114 daily fine.

An agonizing choice for any pet owner, it led to weeks of stress and sleepless nights for Melissa Lecker, and an eventual decision to move (at a loss of $15,000) if the situation continued. Money wasn’t the primary issue, it was the principle at stake, keeping her family together:

“Material things — money and a house — don’t mean anything compared to a living and breathing animal with feelings”

But that was before Tuesday, when Lecker took her issue straight to the Public Health and Safety Chairwoman. Today, it is looking like common sense and cooler heads may be prevailing in Wausau:

But Tipple said city leaders should consider adding an exception clause to the ordinance that could involve permits, for example, or allow residents to keep more than two dogs until a complaint is filed.

Could this be… progress? We are hopeful. Lecker, for her part, is committed to the cause — not just for her own family (they may still end up moving), but the entire community. And for that, we applaud her. Sometimes all it takes for big changes to occur is the passion of a committed individual.

  • Char Allmann

    Are people going to wake up and realize that pet limits are the original ‘foot in the door’ to eliminate pets? On one hand we have shelter and rescue volunteers begging people to ‘adopt’ more animals, and on the other hand – sometimes on the same person – is the warning that someone with ‘x’ number of pets is almost certainly a hoarder, or about to be a hoarder, or could be a hoarder next month if we don’t clamp down, and who is just too ‘irresponsible’ to have animals at all.  I hope the cooler heads include someone who can explain the minefield of “permits” that effectively accomplish the same thing as limits – fewer and fewer pet, usually dogs.

  • Jazz

     i emailed your mayor:

    i read this article on fox news and
    frankly you can tell this attorney guy jeff gold who wrote : “they
    smell. they bark. they have excrement” that people smell, people scream
    and people have excrement too. i think that it is unfair  to write
    things like this about dogs because people do the same things….

    these people seem to be very
    descent people and have clean dogs. we live in a state with no such laws
    and why dont you limit the numbers of children while you are at it.

    i dont know you i am just expressing myself about the idiotic comment from that attorney guy.



  • Lstaszakk9

    I checked Wausau Muncipal code on line.   They can apply for a kennel license which is $35 per year
    for up to 12 dogs.