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December 1, 2009

Wisconsin Becomes 10th State in 2009 to Combat Puppy Mills

Gov. Doyle signs bill supported by The HSUS during National Puppy Mill Action Week

  • Puppy mills are a growing national concern. Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care. Michelle Riley/The HSUS

  • Gov. Jim Doyle and the Wisconsin state legislature enacted an important law to regulate puppy mills. Meghan Lepisto/The HSUS

The Humane Society of the United States applauds Gov. Jim Doyle and the Wisconsin state legislature for enacting an important law to regulate large scale puppy producing operations, known as puppy mills. These breeding facilities are a growing national concern, and Wisconsin joins nine other states with new laws this year to protect both the dogs in puppy mills and the consumers who often unwittingly purchase sick puppies.

"This is a great day for dogs in Wisconsin," said Alyson Bodai, Wisconsin state director for the Humane Society of the United States. "In the several states that do not regulate puppy mills, dogs are left to suffer without any real hope of intervention. Thanks to the determined efforts of Representative Jeff Smith and Senator Pat Kreitlow, our state's dogs will be protected from the worst abuses at puppy mills."

The Wisconsin Commercial Dog Breeders Licensure Bill — introduced by Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Eau Claire, and Sen. Pat Kreitlow, D-Chippewa Falls, and supported by The HSUS, the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, the Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies and the Wisconsin Humane Society — requires large commercial breeders and animal shelters to be licensed by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The bill sets minimum standards of basic humane care and provides for regular inspections to ensure compliance. The measure targets only large-scale facilities and does not apply to small breeders who sell fewer than 25 dogs in a year.

Announcement of the bill's signing comes during The Humane Society of the United States' third annual Puppy Mill Action Week, which is devoted to educating the public during the busy holiday puppy buying season on how to find a new best friend without supporting the abusive puppy mill industry. Puppy Mill Action Week runs Nov. 30 through Dec. 6.  

Puppy Mill Facts

  • In addition to Wisconsin, bills to regulate puppy mills were enacted by the 2009 state legislatures in Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Nebraska, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington.
  • Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction and are confined inside cramped wire-floored cages for life. There is little regard for the dogs' health or any existing genetic conditions that may be passed on to the puppies.
  • Dogs from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog's health, genetic history or future welfare. Consumers should never buy a puppy from a pet store or Web site; instead visit an animal shelter or screen a breeder's facility in person.

To learn more about puppy mills, visit humanesociety.org/puppymills.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at  humanesociety.org.

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