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Wisconsin among 39 states that don't have required reporting of pet abuse

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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. 

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