Property: Cat or Car, Pug or Rug?

He fell on hard times. He lost his job, then his home. His only option was to move into a homeless shelter. But he had two dogs he loved and could not bear to give them up. His dogs started off luckier than he did. Instead of surrendering them to a humane society and having to be split up and placed in new homes, he found the only place in southeast Wisconsin that would be able to spare them – a fledging organization known as “Keep Your Pets, Inc.”

Keep Your Pets, newly founded, is a safety net for pets and owners for crisis management. The concept is to provide temporary housing for pets, mostly dogs and cats, when their owners cannot provide for them. It may be due to illness, relationships with abuse, economic issues, accidents – there are many scenarios, some we can even imagine we could find ourselves in. But the outcome of this type of event has been tragic, until now. The typical options for pet owners are surrendering to a shelter (and usually not getting the pet back without lying to the shelter staff), pawning them off on friends, or euthanasia.

So, he found this option, and his two dogs were spared. Until his luck turned bad again.

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Doggie Drug Abuse–Public Policy Had a Hole Chewed Through It

PrescriptionsSurprisingly, Governor Scott Walker signed a bill this week, March 13, 2013, to exempt Wisconsin veterinarians from the state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program requirements of

1. Collecting data outlined in the state PDMP law, Pharm 18.

2. Submitting any PDMP data collected since the law took effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

I am torn on how to feel or what to think. On one hand, they are claiming this burden on veterinarians would have cost $7 million a year to the industry, ultimately passed on to the consumer of veterinary services. So kudos to the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association for protecting their members from the costly burden of recording and reporting and for protecting the consumer against increased costs of veterinary care.

On the other hand, the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) was introduced by the Pharmacy Board division of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, formerly the Department of Regulation and Licensing, to protect the public. “The Wisconsin Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) is a tool to improve patient care and safety and to reduce the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs.” The duty of this department, which licenses all professionals in Wisconsin except attorneys, is to protect the public–the consumer and their property/animals–not the veterinarian.

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Frozen Assets

Frozen AssetsProperty law – who could forget the Rule Against Perpetuities, fee simple, remainders or Blackacre from your second semester at Marquette Law? For me, it made me seriously question my abilities to reason through complex issues. For my sister, who practices Trusts and Estates law, it is her way of life.

But that second semester, the opportunity to apply the principles of property law became my reality. It seemed every semester I slogged through law school, I had a personal or business crisis that overlapped with my studies. We used arbitration to resolve a breach of contract during a commercial building project. We used an LLC formed by our neighbors to contend with an eminent domain issue, when the utility company condemned and forever marred our property with a gas line. And most interesting of all, we used property law and many other legal principles to deal with a business purchase.

As a foundation for this, let me explain the rest of my professional life. I graduated from Iowa State’s Veterinary School in 1981 and have run my own small animal veterinary practice in rural Wisconsin, one hour north of Milwaukee, since then. After 25 years out of the classroom, I had the itch to go back to school, for the opportunity to have a second career, and because I missed the energy of being in an academic setting.

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