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ALERT UPDATE: COMPANION BILL FOR AB 298, TO PROHIBIT SALE OF DOGS/CATS IN WI PET STORES, INTRODUCED IN STATE SENATE (SB 478)!

 

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AB 298/SB 478, which would prohibit Wisconsin pet stores from selling dogs and cats, is already under attack by lobbyists from a group affiliated with Petland, a national chain of pet stores. YOUR representatives have likely already been contacted by this outside influence, whose goal is not only to shoot down AB 298/SB 478, but also to substitute legislation that will take away the rights of local governments to regulate pet stores in their own communities!

Click on the links above or scroll down for more information on the bill and for Talking Points.

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A petland puppy     On June 13, 2019, an important bill was Introduced by Representatives L. Myers, Ohnstad, Anderson, Steffen, Sinicki, Emerson, Pope, Cabrera and Billings and cosponsored by Senators L. Taylor, Smith and Hansen. Representative Vruwink, Representative Crowley, and Representative Magnafici later signed on as co-sponsors. AB 298 would, quite simply, prohibit Wisconsin pet stores from selling dogs and cats. In the bill, “Pet store” is defined as "a for-profit establishment that is open to the public and that sells or offers for sale domestic animals to be kept as household pets." Provision is also made in the bill for "showcasing, in the pet store, animals that are available for adoption" by shelters and rescues.

     The bill has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety.

     On October 4, 2019, Senators L. Taylor, Smith, Hansen and Wirch introduced a companion bill in the WI State Senate. SB 478 was also cosponsored by Representatives L. Myers, Ohnstad, Anderson, Steffen, Sinicki, Emerson, Pope, Cabrera, Billings, Haywood and Zamarripa. SB 478 was referred to the Senate Committee on Local Government, Small Business, Tourism and Workforce Development .

     Wisconsin's excellent Dog Breeders and Sellers Law went into effect in 2011, and since then, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has been working tirelessly to inspect and license dog sellers, as well as conducting follow-up inspections and investigating complaints. However, there are still WI breeders who think they are above the law. More to the point, many of the dogs being sold in WI pet stores (such as those sold through the Petland stores) are trucked in from out-of-state breeders. Their only licensing is probably through the USDA, and inspections/enforcement of even the Animal Welfare Act's outdated standards of care have become increasingly lax. (Where Do Petland Puppies REALLY Come From? )

     We at Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project would like to see ALL commercial dog breeders looking for a different source of income. Even though there are only a few pet stores in Wisconsin that sell dogs and cats, this bill is an important step toward that goal -- and there will be stiff opposition from many sectors.

     We understand that lobbyists from a group called Citizens for Responsible Pet Ownership, which is affiliated with Petland, are already at work in Wisconsin, contacting legislators with the two-fold purpose of convincing them NOT to support AB 298 and to pass legislation that would, in effect, strip away the power of municipal governments to ban the sale of dogs, cats, rabbits, and/or other live animals in pet stores locally. This taking away of local control is called Preemption, and you can read more about it here.

 

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Bill Summary (by the Legislative Reference Bureau):

This little puggle spends his days lying on wire mesh in a brightly-lit "state-of-the-art" cube in a Petland pet store. No blankie, no mat, no toys -- no hope.     ""This bill prohibits a pet store from selling dogs and cats beginning on January 1, 2020. A person who violates this prohibition is subject to a civil forfeiture of up to $10,000 for the first offense and up to $25,000 for the second or any subsequent offense."

 

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WHAT YOU CAN DO:

"Reflections;" this pup looks out of his cube at visitors to the Janesville, WI, Petland store (17 July 2009)     General guidelines for contacting your representatives: Try to keep your message brief, and be sure to give your name, address, and phone number. Let your representative know that you are a constituent. Please, ALWAYS be polite and respectful. Name-calling, and rude or abusive letters or emails will hurt, rather than help, our cause.

  • Please contact your representatives and ask them to "SUPPORT AB 298/SB 478: Relating to the Sales of Dogs and Cats by Pet Stores and Providing a Penalty." You can find your representatives at: https://legis.wisconsin.gov/

  • If you want to give reasons for your position, please see our Talking Points below!

  • Also, please post your request on your Representative's Facebook page!

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Talking Points:

  • A German shepherd puppy huddles on a plastic pad in its bin at Janesville Petland.Most of the dogs and cats sold in pet stores come from commercial breeders, also known as "kitten and puppy mills."

  • Even though WI has an outstanding law to regulate dog sellers and breeders in the state, many of the dogs being sold in WI pet stores (such as those sold through the Petland stores) come from out-of-state breeders. Their only licensing is probably through the USDA, and inspections/enforcement of even the Animal Welfare Act's outdated standards of care have become increasingly lax. (Where Do Petland Puppies REALLY Come From? )

  • The puppies are trucked into the state like freight, loaded into semis in stacked crates.

  • The parents of most of these puppies and kittens live in appalling conditions.

  • The puppies and kittens may be mistreated in the pet store by inexperienced or impatient sales people.

  • There are also many, many documented cases of customers unknowingly buying sick puppies from pet stores. Investigations show puppies with illnesses ranging from seizures to respiratory infections, diarrhea and vomiting. Some of these illnesses, such as campylobacter infections, are being transmitted to humans who come into contact with the animals.

  • Please see HSUS undercover investigation reveals more sick, dead puppies at Petland stores for details of abuses at this national pet store chain. There are two Petland stores in Wisconsin, though they are not named directly in this article.

  • The Story of Winston Benjamin - A Puppy Mill Pup details the heart- breaking struggles of a famly to save the life of a miniature schnauzer puppy they purchased from a pet store, not knowing how very sick he was. (Please note that the little guy did not make it.)

  • From Puppy MIll Awareness - Michigan, Puppy store fined, third canine importation investigation tells us that a controversial puppy store located in Grandville Michigan was fined after the state completed a third canine importation investigation. Investigations found that puppies were being brought into the state from commercial breeders in Missouri, and did not have the proper documentation of required vaccines.

  • Some pet stores offer "predatory financing" or "pet leasing," where sellers team up with private lending companies that offer a low monthly payment and pad the purchase with high interest. We do not know if this is happening in Wisconsin, but this form of financing has now been banned in Indiana, California, Nevada, and New York. (Click here for more information on pet leasing)

  • Completely banning the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores will avoid the loophole of puppymillers posing as rescues and continuing to supply animals to petstores.

  • The provision for "showcasing, in the pet store, animals that are available for adoption" by legitimate shelters and rescues will help many, many homeless find new families -- and many, many families find new best friends.

  • Lobbyists from a group called Citizens for Responsible Pet Ownership, which is affiliated with Petland, are already at work in Wisconsin, contacting legislators with the two-fold purpose of convincing them NOT to support AB 298 and to pass legislation that would, in effect, strip away the power of municipal governments to ban the sale of dogs, cats, rabbits, and/or other live animals in pet stores locally. This taking away of local control is called Preemption, and you can read more about it here.

  • Please see our Petstore Connection page for more informative links.

This little beagle pup was photographed in his "state-of-the-art" cube at Pewaukee Petland in Feb. 09. Note the sign below the plexiglass.


 pawprint bullet point   Bill Text   pawprint bullet point   Bill History   pawprint bullet point   Bill Summary   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point  TAKE ACTION    pawprint bullet point   Talking Points   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   Find your WI State Representatives   pawprint bullet point

 pawprint bullet point   What To Expect At A Public Hearing   pawprint bullet point

 

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