Police Chief

Ask the Chief

“Ask The Chief” is a weekly post allowing readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in the city of Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance our community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs, and the Department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us. 

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Nov 13

September 10, 2018 - Proper Care for Pets

Posted on November 13, 2018 at 3:00 PM by Kate Berg

September 10, 2018 

Ask the Chief 

Q:  Is there a process for the care and handling of a pet that I am no longer able to care for?

  Image of a dog laying down with words that read "Be a responsible pet owner." 

Thank you for asking this question, life situations happen, which may result in financial, health reasons or changes in living conditions that do not allow for the continued care of pets.   In my law enforcement career, I have seen pets that are part of the family and treated as one would treat a child, and I have seen the other side where pets are treated as property or a thing to be disposed of when no longer wanted/needed.  By asking this question, you care for your pet and wish to do the humane – right thing, but first I would like to talk about the penalties for not doing the right thing! 

Minnesota Statute 343.21, Overworking or Mistreating Animals cover the following:

Subd 1. Torture.  No person shall overdrive, overload, torture, cruelly beat, neglect, or unjustifiably injure, maim, mutilate, or kill any animal, or cruelly work any animal when it is unfit for labor, whether it belongs to that person or another person.

Subd. 2. Nourishment; shelter. No person shall deprive any animal over which the person has charge or control of necessary food, water, or shelter.

Subd. 3. Enclosure.  No person shall keep any cow or other animal in any enclosure without providing wholesome exercise and change of air.

Subd. 4. Low feed.  No person shall feed any cow on food which produces impure or unwholesome milk.

Subd. 5. Abandonment.  No person shall abandon any animal.

Subd. 6. Temporary abandonment. No person shall allow any maimed, sick, infirm, or disabled animal to lie in any street, road, or other public place for more than three hours after receiving notice of the animal's condition.

Subd. 7. Cruelty.  No person shall willfully instigate or in any way further any act of cruelty to any animal or animals, or any act tending to produce cruelty to animals.

Violation of this statute is a misdemeanor, 2nd offense within five years is a gross misdemeanor. 

City of Red Wing Code, Section 10.07, Animals and Fowl – Keeping, Transporting, Treatment and Housing states that it is illegal for anyone to treat an animal in a cruel or inhumane manner.

Now that we have covered the penalties for mistreatment/abandonment of animals, the City of Red Wing has an agreement with the Humane Society of Goodhue County for the handling of strays and surrendered pets.  Surrendered pets should be pre-arranged by calling the Humane Society and ensuring they have room, minimal cost is $50 (dependent on if the animal had all its shots, etc.) and is much cheaper than a criminal record and $300 fine.  If the Humane Society does not have room, they have recommendations/options with other shelters in the area.  You may also check with your veterinarian for other options. 

Please make the right choice, this past week RWPD was called to an emaciated dog and abandoned kittens.  All are receiving the proper care.  If you observe animal abuse, please call the non-emergency number at 651-385-3155 so we can check on the welfare of the animal and ensure they are okay.


1.  Minnesota Statute 343.21, Overworking or Mistreating Animals, Penalty. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/2017/cite/343.21?keyword_type=all&keyword=Animal abandonment

2.  Red Wing City Code, Chapter 10, Section 10.07 Animals and Fowl – Keeping, Transporting, Treatment and Housing