Paws behind bars logo of the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, Inc.


Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, Inc.

Dedicated to Ending The Suffering of Companion Animals
Through Public Education and Meaningful Advocacy

P.O. Box 926    *    Sheboygan, WI 53082-0926   *
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What Is A Puppy Mill?   *   What Can I Do About It?   *   Laws/Legislation   *   ACTION ALERTS!





Site Updated July 26, 2023
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Three former mill dogs with puppy mill in the background

     The good news is, these three beautiful girls are out of the "puppy business" and enjoying their newfound "Freedom from Fear." But did you ever wonder where the dogs go when a miller decides that commercial breeding is no longer profitable, or when puppies don't sell, or when a particular breed goes out of "style?"

     More and more millers are calling upon rescues and shelters to take them. In fact, HUNDREDS of dogs, including puppies, adolescents, and adults, have been surrendered in Wisconsin in the past six months alone, and the requests just keep on coming. Finding humane organizations to help foster, house, and rehome this flood of dogs has been overwhelming. Veterinary services have been difficult to schedule and fund, too.

     We are very, very grateful to the veterinarians, shelters, rescues, fosters and adopters who are scrambling to make room for the deluge of puppy mill surrenders of all breeds, ages, and sizes we see pouring in right now. Those of you who prioritize intake and services for these WI dogs in need (many of them adolescents and puppies) are literally saving their lives!

       Getting legislation passed for animal protection takes years of work, planning, and intense grass roots efforts. And passing laws is only the beginning -- we must then work even harder to see that the new laws are properly implemented and enforced.

       Though we at Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project would like to see ALL commercial dog breeders looking for a different source of income, the intent and purpose of WIsconsin's Dog Breeders and Sellers Law is to REGULATE a previously totally UNregulated industry -- setting standards to require good care for dogs and to provide consumers with some protection when buying a pet.

Access to Dog Breeder / Seller Reports

       Since the Dog Breeders and Sellers Law went into effect in 2011, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) had been working tirelessly to inspect and license dog sellers, as well as conducting follow-up inspections and investigating complaints. As a result, standards of living for dogs in commercial facilities, while still not ideal, have improved tremendously -- or the facilities have been denied licenses and are out of business. You can read more about DATCP's Dog Breeders & Sellers program here, and can access the DATCP Licensed Dog Sellers Listing here. (Interested in DATCP's 2014 program report, detailing statistics from 2011 - 2013? Please Click here!)

File a Complaint

       If you have reason to suspect that any unlicensed breeder is selling more than 25 dogs a year, or are concerned about the conditions in which a a breeder/ seller/ shelter/ stray hold facility is keeping dogs, PLEASE see our Filing a Complaint page for information on how to contact DATCP with your concerns! Remember that it is vitally important to provide investigators with as much detail and documentation as possible: dates, times, locations, contacts -- phone numbers, email, texts etc. -- and a "screen shot" if possible of ads on Craig's list or Facebook. All complaints will be investigated. With the public's help, DATCP has been able to prosecute at least one notorious breeder who went "underground" to avoid upgrading her facilities in compliance with the Dog Breeders and Sellers Law.

THANK YOU, Wisconsin!

       We at the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project extend a huge THANK YOU to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and all of the rescuers, breeders, sellers, humane societies, animal shelters and consumers who are co-operating with the licensing process. Even though WI still has a few commercial dog breeding facilities, the standards of care in them under the Dog Breeders and Sellers Law are hugely better than before the law took effect and (unfortunately) conditions that a lot of pet dogs and hunting dogs are living under. Dogs now have protection under the law and consumers can access information on sellers and file complaints for non-compliance.

Thanks to the Wisconsin Dog Seller Program, this puppy miller is OUT OF BUSINESS!

     In 2011, Pretty Penny Kennels applied for and was granted a "temporary license" under WI Act 90. However, Mr. Schulz declined to upgrade his facilities to comply with the new regulations, so was DENIED a permanent license.

     Under the law, Mr. Schulz may still sell fewer than 25 dogs a year, from three litters. If you have reason to suspect that he is selling more dogs, or are concerned about the conditions in which his remaining dogs are being kept, please see our Filing a Complaint page for details on how to contact DATCP with your concerns!

Get the Facts Before Buying a Dog

       Does this mean that it is "safe" to buy puppies from Wisconsin pet stores or on the internet? Most emphatically NOT! Though some sell "home grown" pups, please note that many, many animals are still being brought in from unregulated out-of-state commercial breeders to be sold in Wisconsin. Remember this--pet shop puppies are puppy mill puppies! Do you want to help dogs both in Wisconsin and across the nation? Then be careful buying pets over the internet and from "roadside signs," and NEVER buy a puppy or kitten (or any other animal, for that matter) from a pet store!

       If your heart is set on a puppy from a breeder, PLEASE do your homework and read our Finding Your New Best Friend! pages. Though we will always encourage adoption and rescue as the primary source for acquiring a pet, we also feel that people should have the choice of bringing a well-bred, well-socialized, healthy puppy into their lives. There are many quality hobby breeders in Wisconsin who truly care about the dogs they create. They research breeding, do all of the recommended health checks for their breeds, raise their dogs in home settings, place puppies carefully, and form a relationship with the people who take them into their families. Researching before you buy will help you locate one of these breeders.

But We Are Not Finished Yet!

       There are still abuses; there are still dogs (and other animals) in Wisconsin needing our help. Some commerical breeders have found or created "loopholes" to evade regulation; some have even gone "underground". And our recent participation in the campaign against the use of dogs to track and hunt wolves has heightened our awareness of the deplorable conditions under which many so-called "hounders" keep, breed, transport, and hunt their dogs.

       Despite our excellent Act 90 Dog Seller Program, the Animal Legal Defense Fund ranked Wisconsin in the bottom tier (#44) for overall animal protection laws in 2015. (ALDF 2015 U.S. Animal Protection Laws Rankings (pdf)) Wisconsin's existing "Chapter 951: Crimes Against Animals" as it applies to pets and hunting dogs is vague and open to interpretation, making enforcement difficult, if not impossible — frustrating citizens and law enforcement investigators alike. (Read Chapter 951for yourself.)

Continuing the Fight

       Currently, among other issues, we are campaigning for regulation of exotic species as pets, safer public lands for people and animals, protection of wild species, and promoting humane standards for the use of hunting hounds.

       Our dream is to see the expansion of Act 90 minimum standards of care to ALL dogs in Wisconsin -- not just those in the care of licensed dog sellers. We consider it disgraceful that current humane laws allow some pet and hunting dogs to live in deplorable conditions that fall far short of those mandated by Act 90 for dogs in commercial breeding establishments!

       With your help, Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project will be there to continue the fight for solid, enforceable animal protection regulation. Animals in Wisconsin are depending on us!


About the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project:

       The Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project is a 501(c)3 registered non-profit. On 1 December 2009, our decade-long dream was realized when, with his signature, Governor Doyle turned AB-250, the Dog Breeders Licensure Bill, into the ground-breaking WI Act 90.

Our goal is to offer a valuable educational resouce for:

  • those seeking to end the institutionalized form of animal cruelty known as "puppy mills"
  • those looking for ways to fight abuse in their own neighborhoods
  • those wishing to add a healthy, loving, animal companion to their families

        Members of our group started working to alleviate the suffering of mill dogs in 1999 and officially organized as the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, Inc., in 2004. Our mission is to educate the public about puppy mills, to prevent cruelty to animals, to foster understanding of responsible pet acquisition and ownership, and to promote adoption of homeless companion animals.

Mr. Peabody, a Puppy Mill/Pet Store Product       This website is dedicated to Mr. Peabody. Pea was bred and born in a Wisconsin puppy mill, and languished in a filthy cage in a Wisconsin pet store, at the mercy of neglectful and sometimes abusive sales people. Even though he finally found a loving home, there was no "happy ending." Pea suffered from poor breeding, chronic health problems, and emotional scars due to his background, for all of his six years.

       It is because of Pea that the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project exists. It is because of Pea and dogs like him that Wisconsin puppy mills will someday CEASE to exist.

       It's easy for people to shake their heads and murmur how terrible all this is, but it doesn't affect THEM. One of our goals is to show that the problems of animal cruelty affects EVERYBODY, one way or the other.

       We also want to help people find healthy, loving, lifelong animal companions. We would prefer that everyone adopt from shelters and rescues, but also want to give you the information you need to choose a reputable breeder.

       And, of course, we hope to enlist your aid in putting an end to the institutionalized animal cruelty known as "puppy mills."


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What Is A Puppy Mill?
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"...if one person is unkind to an animal, it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people." --  Ruth Harrison

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P.O. Box 926    *    Sheboygan, WI 53082-0926   *

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