Wisconsin Town Considers Changing Animal "Guardian" Law

Back in March the Menomonee Falls Village Board approve a change to its ordinances that eliminated the term “owner” from animal-related ordinances and replaced it with the term “guardian.” But now, the Village Board is having second thoughts after hearing from its attorney that the change could have unforseen legal consequences.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,

Village Attorney Michael Morse said Monday that, under current common law, an animal is property and that guardian is a legal term that refers to people.

“I couldn’t guarantee that some clever lawyer wouldn’t apply aspects of the term guardian to a situation involving pets,” he said. “I don’t believe the trustees ever intended those consequences.”

The board is apparently considering “guardian/owner” which would seem to simply further muddy up the legal waters.


Falls might change pet ‘guardian’ terminology. Kay Nolan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 22, 2002.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: