Wisconsin and a few other states, when a petstore brags that it sells
"only dogs from licensed sources," it is very likely that the USDA is
the sole licensing agency. Yet articles in the Fall 2018 issue of The
Alliance Speaks, newsletter of the
Missouri Alliance for Animal
Legislation, contend that: "USDA believes that state and local
restrictions are seriously affecting the economic viability of the commercial
dog breeding industry. In response, USDA initiated steps to enhance the image
of puppy mills a few years ago by covering up violations of the AWA at puppy
mills. This past year, USDA has ramped up its efforts to conceal poor
conditions at puppy mills amid mounting concerns about the continuing bad
reputation of the industry."
Is the USDA
"turning a blind eye" to abuses and letting down the very animals the
Animal Welfare Act was created to protect? Read
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
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
DATCP Online Services Dog Sellers and Dog Facility Operators
License List here.(Interested in DATCP's 2014 program report, detailing
statistics from 2011 - 2013? Please
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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!
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!
Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project:
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
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
- those wishing to add a healthy, loving, animal companion to
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.
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.
course, we hope to enlist your aid in putting an end to the institutionalized
animal cruelty known as "puppy mills."
"...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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Copyright, 2008, 2016. The Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project
P.O. Box 926 * Sheboygan, WI
53082-0926 * info@NoWisconsinPuppyMills.com
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