Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Wisconsin Republicans: Not After the Family Pet Vote

by Tom Bozzo

Paul Soglin picks up an LA Times story about Wisconsin Rep. Sheryl Albers's (R-50th district) effort to provide for pet custody in state divorce law. Paul, alas, misses the best part of the story, which is that the legislation was inspired by the pet custody issue that Rep. Albers's (new) husband had thanks to a "messy" divorce in 2003. Here's family values for you:
Albers said her husband and his ex-wife bitterly fought over who should care for the family's Labrador, Sammi. The kids wanted to keep Sammi, who was aging and incontinent. Neither parent, however, was clamoring to house the dog full time, Albers said. (*)

According to Albers and Dane County Circuit Court documents, a judge ordered that as the three children split their time between Mom and Dad, so too should Sammi.

"The dog did not travel well. It shed. It would get sick in the car," said Albers, an attorney. "It was not easy dealing with that dog."
So what happens when the parents aren't "clamoring"? Sorry, kids, here's the relevant part of proposed section 767.49(2) of the Wisconsin Code:
PLACEMENT OF PET IF NO STIPULATION. If a party to an annulment, divorce, or legal separation action requests the court to determine placement of a pet of the parties and the parties are unable to stipulate as to the pet’s placement or sub. (4) (a) applies, the court may order placement with one of the parties or may order that the pet be surrendered to a local humane society or other similar animal care facility designated by the court.
In other words, bye bye Sammi (**). I'll tell ya, ol' Mitt doesn't have anything on Rep. Albers. Meanwhile, we see that the good kind of judicial activism for some Republicans is that which uses statutory discretion to get rid of unwanted family pets.

Meanwhile the LAT publishes a picture of Rep. Albers in a fractionally more fashionable haircut and considerably more fashionable glasses than are shown on the 50th district home page (***) and points out her history of "spearheading unusual legislation" — including the designation of the Wisconsin State Ballad in 2001. (****) That is "Oh Wisconsin, Land of My Dreams" and you can here it right here (MP3) if after the above you dare. If I could remember the tune, I might need to get it out of my head, but instead I think we should just find a legislative sponsor for the Wisconsin State Power Ballad. Sweet Child Badger O' Mine, anyone? (*****)

(*) Which is to say, they fought over who would have to take care of Sammi.

(**) Who actually died of non-legislative causes at age 17.

(***) I am outraged that my tax money is being used to support that typography!

(****) The same legislation also designated the State Waltz. Or, "don't say nothing got done during the Scott McCallum administration (motto: 'Tommy G. Thompsonism without the evil genius')".

(*****) I didn't check Dan's criteria to see if this would count as a proper power ballad.

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