The Marathon County Animal Control Task Force met Monday night to discuss ways to improve enforcement.
After 20-year-old Sean Janas was charged in a horrific case of animal abuse, community response was overwhelming. Many called for a new law, Mary's Law, named after the dog police say Janas tortured and killed earlier this year.
"It was absolutely shocking," Keene Winters said of the case. He's the chair of the Wausau Subcommittee on Animal Control.
"Right now, that barking dog call is really a low priority, but that barking dog call could be the next Mary," he said. The goal of Mary's Law is to give animals more attention.
The law is still being worked on, but it calls for raising pet licensing fees in Marathon County to help pay for three animal control workers. Right now, police handle animal complaints.
"People don't pay their license, we don't have any staff funded to do this. That's where we're stuck," Winters said.
Becky McElhaney supports the law.
"With the humane officers , were going to have more enforcement," she said.
She told Newsline 9 increasing pet licensing fees to $10 dollars for spayed or neutered pets and $20 dollars for non-spayed or neutered pets, is a small price to pay for pet owners.
"Owning a pet is expensive, these are very manageable. I think the key is to tell people that the fees are going directly for the humane officers."
But some argue the law won't work and officers will still have a hard time enforcing animal control laws. City leaders agree the public would have to be behind the plan, but Winters said regardless, animal control officers are needed.
"the chance of another Mary happening are pretty high given that we don't have any animal control," he said.
Supporters hope to have Mary's Law adopted and implemented sometime next year.