Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle on Tuesday signed a bill to regulate large-scale dog breeding facilities — a measure he hopes will bring an end to the state’s reputation as a magnet for puppy mills.
“Frankly, when it comes to regulating dog breeders, we have fallen short of many other states – until today,” Doyle said. “We can’t allow these bad actors to continue these practices here in Wisconsin.”
The bill passed the legislature unanimously in November and requires breeders who sell three litters or 25 or more dogs a year to get licensed by the state, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The law also sets regulations to ensure dogs get adequate food, water and exercise and are provided safe enclosures. The department will inspect the facilities and can revoke licenses and impose penalties on breeders.
“The puppy mills won’t disappear overnight simply because of the new law,” Eilene Ribbens, executive director of the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, said. “It will take years of work to clean up after a very cruel and abusive industry that flourished in Wisconsin during years with no regulation. We have much work ahead of us.”
The Humane Society of the United States said Wisconsin joins nine other states that passed new laws this year to protect both the dogs in puppy mills and the consumers who often unwittingly purchase sick puppies.
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, according to a HSUS press release.